Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus 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 cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within 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 next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue 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 I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are 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 for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay 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 your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip 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 choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.