Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select 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 generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are many ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay every day expenses. 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 accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.