Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, 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 verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many 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 a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.