Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually 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 even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.