Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have 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 trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday costs. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.