Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert 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 little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
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. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay 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 review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great 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 or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. 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 anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of 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, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses 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, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card for daily costs. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about 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 a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible 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 costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing 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 efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.