Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price 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 check your frequent flyer accounts to 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 of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can 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 flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
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 pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can 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 paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up 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 you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you 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 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 them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.