Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. 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 excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together 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.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits 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 for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described, 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.