Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to 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 about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent 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 or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack 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 hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
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 off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles 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 benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.