Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great 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 need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. 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 points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your next 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 full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you 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 legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried 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 a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family 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 know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card for every day expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. By using all 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.