Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to 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 the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack 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 minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. 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
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine 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 very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.