Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or 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 purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for 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.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more 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 trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay daily expenditures. This could include 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.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight 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 reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming 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 you access to a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.