Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re only a couple of point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack 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 economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry 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 huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.