Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to 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 buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider 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 for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a 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 points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.