Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
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 discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best 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 look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. 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 card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using 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 this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a 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 for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family 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 know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.