Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards 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 rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming 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’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in 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 your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. 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 earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.