Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to 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 the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re just a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. 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 like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider 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
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses 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 expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else 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 keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Through an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.