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 turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking 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 book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total price, you can purchase flights through 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 your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into 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 amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card for every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.