Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. 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 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 qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
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 in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for daily expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. 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 offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.