Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready 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 take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use 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 have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points 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, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay 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 then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching 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 points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.