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 a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can 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 as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique 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 into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt 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 tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. 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
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card for every day costs. This can 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.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% 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 bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.