Are you tired 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 a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to 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 the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them 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 trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for 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 coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. 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 planning to.
There are many methods to get the most out 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 ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about 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 allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.