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 bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine points and cash to pay for your 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 full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book 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 cannot combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. 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 already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay for daily costs. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate 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.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.