Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase 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 travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great 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 card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
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 that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay every day costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto 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 also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could 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 reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.