Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts 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 bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be 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 economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of 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 credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand 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 ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn 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 the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater 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 your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.