Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting 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 later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group 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 cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
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 be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have 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 know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for everyday expenses. This could be 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 accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.