Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight 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 reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day costs. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will 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 very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.