Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great 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 need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware 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 point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term 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 do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are many ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations 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 meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.