Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. 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 an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
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 also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.