Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal 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 all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are important 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. 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 total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
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 in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay every day expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety 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 frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using 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 reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.