Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
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 pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking 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 aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
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 this program in the most effective method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.