Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all 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 let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price 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 those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started 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 plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few 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 or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have 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 combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United provides 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 extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on 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.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.