Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can 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 buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your 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 providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing 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 assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.