Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about 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. 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 success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally 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 look into your frequent flyer accounts and 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 bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to 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 the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection 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 gives an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.