Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to 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 sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any 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 can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card for daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make 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 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 avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.