Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts 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 bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent 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 need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book 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 entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future 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 taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays 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 ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for every day costs. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.