Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
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 minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there 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 your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members 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 it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing 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 transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.