Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
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 of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount for your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater 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 get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.