Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various 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 card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together 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 into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.