Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay 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 look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is using your credit card to pay for every day costs. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.