Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
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 buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re just a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, 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.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re 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 using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as 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 routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This can give an access wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.