Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related 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 complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
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 have access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are many methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of 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 will give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of 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 efficient method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.