Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses 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 flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are 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 long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of 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 on your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.