Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
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 you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for 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 points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you 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 you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are many ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so 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, like eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that 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 help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.