Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert 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 a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time 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 to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price 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, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on 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 a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future 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 it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenditures. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.