Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, 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 goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it 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 pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas, and 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
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare 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 suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination 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 variety of travel benefits.