Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight 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 book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together 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 into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important 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 may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for every day costs. This can 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 accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s 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. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.