Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great to hack 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you 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 rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.