Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate 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 review those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to use for hacking 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the 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 a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn 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 you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.