Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles 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 travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important 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 card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point 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 provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack 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 challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenses. This can include 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 pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. 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 a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.