Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through 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 pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for every day expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
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 evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.