Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent 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 or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re 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 a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for everyday costs. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.