Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with 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 contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
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. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will 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.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.