Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose 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 the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides 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 you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big 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 know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant 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 worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This gives an access greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.