Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other 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 information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved 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 sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it 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 credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to 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 have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card for daily expenses. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.