Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. 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 will reimburse 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 in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay every day expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align 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 onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend 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, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may 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 reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
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 to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.