Are you tired of spending 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 bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time 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 book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, 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 using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret 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 with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage 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 the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.