Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free 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. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of miles or points 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 a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking 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 sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry 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 your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it 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 spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big 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 this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay daily costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend 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 in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion 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 options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.