Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group 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 save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should 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 which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
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! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. 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 a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional 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. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage 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, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.