Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll 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 cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue 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.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion 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. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay every day costs. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you 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 wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.