Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial 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 receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can purchase flights through the 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 realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for everyday expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.