Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re 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, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay 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 doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can 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 suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards for every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give an access larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine 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 extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with 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 maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can 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.