Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even 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 about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, 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 join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are 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 using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail 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, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
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 using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined 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.