Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great 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 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 be sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by using your credit card for daily expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving 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. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a wider variety 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 the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, 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 way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.