Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other 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 some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. 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 above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you 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 your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you 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 which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review 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 are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, 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 earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from 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 way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.