Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance 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 can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack 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 daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. 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 pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.