Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing 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 best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then 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?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, 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 use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the required amount for your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as 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 habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.