Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re a few points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done 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 to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can 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 doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full 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, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.