Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. 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 card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire 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 not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.