Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready 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 book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay the 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 you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future 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 doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card and 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:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could 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 have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and 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 the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.