Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. 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 anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there 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 a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are many methods to get the most of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including 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 habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.