Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can travel 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 incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price 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 above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay 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 coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off 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 off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards for everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling 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 to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.