Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a 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 which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
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 establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay 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 review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn 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 like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify 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 a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay for daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider 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 an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.