Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program 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 usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
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 to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for 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 in the near future Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Many 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 with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing 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 effective method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.