Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if 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 just a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most from the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
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 making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
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, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some 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 each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined 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.