Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack 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 daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through 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 to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run 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 don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family 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 understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily costs. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
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 evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.