Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted 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 rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any 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 to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re 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 your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant 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 value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own 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 know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.