Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, 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 miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give an access wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.