Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some 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 receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by making use of your credit card for daily expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card 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. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.