Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready 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 for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the 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 know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance 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 for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give an access larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.