Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to 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 the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, 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 for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay every day costs. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.