Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll 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 rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit 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 certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make 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 minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds 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.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give an access larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.