Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
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 frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United provides 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. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to 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 like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. 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 an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute 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 it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for daily costs. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.