Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
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 cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and then 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 the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important 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 around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending 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 will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match 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 onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.