Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better 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 your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through 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! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving 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 Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.