Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.