Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to 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 the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally 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 the frequent flyer account and 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 each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great for travel hacking:
- 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 receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it 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 your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
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 then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
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 efficient way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.