Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider 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 above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up 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 ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not 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 one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re 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 using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you 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 with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to 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 allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could 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 invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your 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 reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.