Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the 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 huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay every day costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone 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
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion 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 choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Some 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, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.