Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little 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 purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans 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 make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many 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 cards 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 minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t 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 every 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 to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. 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 companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually 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 cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional 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 trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards 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 make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.