Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to 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 quite 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. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
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! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day costs. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points 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 routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.