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 turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. 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. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important 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 card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for 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 full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better 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 get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.