Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to hack 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine money and points 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 don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member 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 economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share 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 a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big 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 in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay daily costs. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with 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 making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.