Are you fed up 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 turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading 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 let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up 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 with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. 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 I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is using your credit card for everyday costs. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.