Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards 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 cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are important 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
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 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 using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.