Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit 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 look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can 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 combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
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? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to 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 companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got 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 take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.