Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers 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 space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share 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! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could 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 taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits 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 making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.