Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out 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 best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit 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 plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got 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 are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full 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, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with 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 bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.