Are you tired 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 credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some 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 need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will 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 through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join 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 companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of 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! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.