Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in 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 those frequent flyer accounts and 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 bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend 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 our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run 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 a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are 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 you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so 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, like eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.