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 turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full 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 not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and 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. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay daily costs. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key 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. Through an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.