Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, 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 miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to 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 full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used 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
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card for daily costs. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.