Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent 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 limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into 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 thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry 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 for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are many ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.