Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
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 reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% 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 wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give an access wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel 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 earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.