Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you 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 for one flight. If you’re a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from the travel credit card. earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest 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 spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may 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 rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
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 making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.