Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little 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 as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
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 dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase 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 space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either 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 your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to 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 reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.