Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking 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 limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with 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 can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a 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 a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future 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 you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by using your credit card for every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.