Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using 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 realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite 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 some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.