Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to 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 bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow 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 able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.