Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little 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 exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number 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? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
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 providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that 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. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry 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 your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.