Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
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. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most important 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 card you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive 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 racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can 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 flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet 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 the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to 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 know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.