Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine 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 buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenditures.
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 by using your credit card to pay everyday costs. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage 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, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.