Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great 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 or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies 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 through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United provides 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 travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry 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 using credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.