Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a 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 about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to hack 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full 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 full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re just a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of 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, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to 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 see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses 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 amount of spending required for your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards for everyday expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you 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 flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.