Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to hack 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to 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 the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach 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 tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.