Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price 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? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
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 relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay 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 this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenses. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your 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 miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.