Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
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. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account 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 bonus. There are many great credit cards with many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn 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 anything like me and my travel companion 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. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount for your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for everyday costs. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.