Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $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 look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved 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 be sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
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. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit 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 hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. 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 using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.