Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy 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 key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay every day expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match 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 that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant 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 instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.