Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key 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 it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points 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 possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking 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 as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is making use of your credit card for everyday expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.