Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full 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 fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share 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 credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel 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 suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a 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 enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives an access larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.