Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in 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 review the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account 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 with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the 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 your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? 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 away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but 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 fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or 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 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 a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.