Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost 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 your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay 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 look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred 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 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 need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this 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 pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance 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 with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your 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 on flights. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn 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 anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
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! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most from your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that 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. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. 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 the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.