Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little 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 the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect 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 need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards for daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.