Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay daily costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.