Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to almost 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 book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll 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 off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for daily expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and 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
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto 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 aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use 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 example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.