Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, 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 incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred 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 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve 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 purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make 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 like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay 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 doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can 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 your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay for every day costs. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection 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 gives an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.