Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make 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 or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to 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 trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
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 making use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers 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 extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.