Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll 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. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and 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 as we’ve done it 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 your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is 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 excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.