Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to 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 your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.