Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel 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. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. 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?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make 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 buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday costs. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.