Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re 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 for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term 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 cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can 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 your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.