Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will 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
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for everyday expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.