Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can 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 that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re a few point short 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 flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.