Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.