Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes 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 to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more 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 book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.