Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway 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. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is using your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.