Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open an account 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 spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack 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 to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are many ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.