Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and 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 enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up 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? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re 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 credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the required amount for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card for everyday costs. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide 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 a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.