Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way 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 imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for 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 enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.