Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans 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 it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will 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’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn 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 huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for daily costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.