Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to 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 trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, 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. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes 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 important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 this information. From there it’s all about building 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 the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key 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 your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.