Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
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 later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number 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 to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join 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 anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and 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:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. 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 capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
The key 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 efficient way possible. Utilizing 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 range of travel perks.