Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could 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 doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits 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 example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.