Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can 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 and incentives for 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 to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific 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 best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. 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 or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through 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 for your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a 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 meet the required amount for your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for 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 have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.