Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be 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 card you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. 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? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person 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 with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use 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, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching 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 to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.