Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal 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 about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent 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 or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share 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 pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer 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 a companion, both of you can earn rewards with 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 maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.