Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $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 over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. 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 price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge 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 could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay every day expenses. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.