Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car 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 to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire 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 the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack 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 challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.