Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect 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 or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share 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 credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider 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 were planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay every day costs. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a 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 freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
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 to ensure you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.