Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal 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 even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
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 using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of 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, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.