Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little 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 about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order 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 don’t possess enough points for 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 fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a 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 a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most from the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, 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
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. 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’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.