Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel 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 cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number 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 in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into 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 in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with various advantages and features. 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 excellent 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas or 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
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.