Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can 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 anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. 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 pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.