Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
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 then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. 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 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, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine points and cash 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 do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re just a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.