Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential 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 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 certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? 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 you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use 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
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay every day expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
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 example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make 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 your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.