Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $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 above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely 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 total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. 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? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
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 be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to 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 large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. 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 the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.