Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a 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 trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through 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, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider 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 a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.