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 an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that 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 prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is making use of your credit card for daily expenses. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.