Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking 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 take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various 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 cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.