Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for 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 goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can combine money and points to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day costs. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card 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 worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described 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.