Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
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 buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking 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 need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape 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. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process 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 where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for every day costs. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about 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 that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to 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 programme. This can give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.