Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to hack travel
- 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 get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely 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 full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers 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 legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. 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 anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry 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 to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large 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 Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay daily costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on 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 someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.