Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely 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 the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried 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 an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for 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, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.