Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any 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 using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United provides 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 flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it 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 using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically 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 spending limit is to cover an 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 repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off 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 traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use 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 you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.