Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related 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 dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free 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. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking 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 make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better 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 check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re just a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will 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 the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Some 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, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
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 using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.