Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you 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 flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you 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 space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial 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 if you can pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount for your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for daily costs. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn 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 ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.