Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use 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 credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a 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 your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line 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, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching 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 you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
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 make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.