Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with a variety of advantages 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 a few credit card options that can be perfect 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a 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 transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.