Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can 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 which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the 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 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 qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large 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 it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off 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 for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.