Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and 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 the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.