Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great 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 limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together 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 into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you 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 you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% 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’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to 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 reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.