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 convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
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. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight 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 above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. 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 I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration 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 accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards for every day costs. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to 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 have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give an access greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.