Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! 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 every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there 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 using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for daily expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of 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 outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.