Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn 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 that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum 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 building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re 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, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most from your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you 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 meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.