Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to 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 depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will 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 by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the 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 tired of paying the full cost for 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 that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the 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 for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card for daily costs. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on 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 value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.