Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book 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 cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.