Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings 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 a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to hack 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 minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay 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 taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are many ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay every day expenses. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align 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 a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.