Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider 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 the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a 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 an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay daily costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, 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 making use of it in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.