Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can 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 rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re just a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty 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 because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it 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 due Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay everyday costs. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match 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, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost 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 make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.