Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little 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 trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. 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 and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, 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 ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review 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’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.