Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for 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 plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. 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 an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future 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 using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your 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 required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
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 the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.