Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced 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 most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total 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 full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join 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 companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay everyday costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
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 compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.