Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect 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. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay 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 each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about 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 an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. 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 range of travel perks.