Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are 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 get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve 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 with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are 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 for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a 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 allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.