Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds 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 routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with 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 maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.