Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free 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 successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit 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 this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can book flights using 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 realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of your 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 additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for daily costs. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. 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 eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.