Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired 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 the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $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 above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to hack 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 minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight 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 full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but 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 verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make 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 know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.