Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for 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? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you 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 like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not available 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 and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method. By using an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.