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 convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. 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 travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to hack travel
- 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own 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 nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just 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.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you 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 bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to 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 can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.