Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll 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 incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried 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 a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay daily expenses. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program 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, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching 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 the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.