Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can book flights using 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 have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique 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.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.