Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful 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 comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to 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 to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
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. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. 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 your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is using your credit card for every day expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.