Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to hack 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can buy flights with 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 flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards for everyday expenses. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will 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 extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost 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 making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.