Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are crucial 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can buy flights with 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 have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, 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 flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
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! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them 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 understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize 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 or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. 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 habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.