Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out 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 flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be 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, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there 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 pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up 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 it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards for daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.