Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, 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, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it 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 for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
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 using your credit card to pay every day costs. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full 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, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider 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 to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Through all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.