Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. 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 the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best 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 check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order 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 possess enough points for the full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret 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 a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are 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 you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay daily costs. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use 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 redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.