Monocle Travel Guides

Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.

The Basics of Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.

How Does it Work?

The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.

Start with Travel Hacking

Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.

Top Credit Card Picks

Here are a few credit cards that are great to hack travel

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase United Explorer
  • JetBlue Mastercard
  • Capital One Venture X

After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!

Are you ready to set sail with your goals?

Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:

Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! 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 in cash using the credit card of your choice.

 

United

Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.

Reach that Minimum Spend

If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.

Monocle Travel Guides

Pay your rent (if you can)

This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.

Make a payment on a medical expense

Another way to reach the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.

Make a payment to pay off a loan

If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.

Ask family for help

Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.

Give presents

If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.

There are many methods to get the most from the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:

Make travel reservations 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 any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.

Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses

Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for daily expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.

Make the most of bonus categories

A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.

Think about a balance transfer

If you are currently in debt on 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 allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.

Make use of your miles or points prudently

Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.

Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.

Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.

If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.

In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.