Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any 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 have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you 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 miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem 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 will give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.