Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be 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 or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you 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 know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for 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 allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to 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 reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.