Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking 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 your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. 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, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share 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! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It may be worth it 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 due, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective method. By using an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.