Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every 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 many great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip 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 this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically 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 spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of the travel credit card. earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay everyday costs. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in 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 debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial 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 example using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.