Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of 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 the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
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. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. 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 anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This gives an access larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.