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 an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of 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 exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect 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 card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the 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 big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could 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 this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.