Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some 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 as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can 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 rental car deals.
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 a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great 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 card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a 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 use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for 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 tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most out of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card for daily costs. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.