Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using 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 not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them 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 give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.