Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? 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 airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack 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 need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking 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 dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through 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 credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR 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’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using 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 rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. 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 frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.