Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish 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 under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t 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 every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point 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 passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make 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 thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are 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 using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to 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 plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of 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 credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines 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 accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.