Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost 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 don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points 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 the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.