Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you 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 flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.