Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve 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 in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, 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 to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were planning to.
There are many ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on 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 transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.