Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight 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 reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.