Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream 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 the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to hack 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit 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 them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a 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 off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles 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 evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of 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 have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when 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 will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.