Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but 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 can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t 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 every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? 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 like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to 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 large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.