Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key 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 it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great 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 need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card for every day expenses. This could 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.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use 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 freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.