Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 be sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
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 to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars 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 fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay 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. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize 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 hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.