Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute 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 this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like 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 habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.