Larry Baer Travel Daily News

Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can 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 get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.

The Basics of Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.

How Does it Work?

The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.

Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking

Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.

Top Credit Card Picks

Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase United Explorer
  • JetBlue Mastercard
  • Capital One Venture X

If 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. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!

Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?

After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:

Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you own an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.

 

United

Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book 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 the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.

Hit that Minimum Spend

If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. 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 big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.

Pay a medical bill

Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can repay you.

Repay the loan

If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate 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. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.

Give presents

If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.

There are a lot of methods to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:

Make travel reservations using your credit card

If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenses.

Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures

Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day costs. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.

Make the most of bonus categories

Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.

Consider the possibility of transferring your balance

If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.

Make use of your miles or points prudently

If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.

Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.

In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could 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.

When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.

In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.