Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not 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 every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option of buying 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, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards for daily expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so 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, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.