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 way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you 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 the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows 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 a reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.