Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in 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 it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most of the travel credit card. earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might 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 reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.