Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect 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 need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn 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 companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach 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 tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 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 way to reach the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. 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 already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on 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 your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
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 compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn 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 making use of this program in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.