Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting 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 rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best 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 review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect 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 need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re just a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn 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 a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from 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 your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement 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 to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.