Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some 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 incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better 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 the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using 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? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. 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
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.