Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
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 buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, 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 quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack 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 thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give an access larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.