Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
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 building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to hack 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be 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, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through 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 to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay daily expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight 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 points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.