Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect 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 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 book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for 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 cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, 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 for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you 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 take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer 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 companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.