Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of 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 all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect 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 need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had 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 the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your 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 total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re 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 a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If 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. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be 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 costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.