Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost 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 then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn 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 with various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are 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 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 certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book 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 still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to 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 points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.