Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
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 establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best 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 those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. 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 card options that can be great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine money and points to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
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 be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient way possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.