Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the 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 assortment of travel-related perks.