Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all 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 allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into 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 know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return 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 options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.