Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired 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 in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
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 hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it 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 with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach 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’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Use your credit card 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 can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.