Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
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 establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
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 like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend for your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card for every day costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using 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 take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.