Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many 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 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full 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 flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay daily expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas, and 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
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles 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 ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.