Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can 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 incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack 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 get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high 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 coming up, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card for every day expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries, and 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
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.