Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards 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 offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can book flights using 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 of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to 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 thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most from your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.