Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert 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 bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
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 building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day costs. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.