Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be 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 understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.