Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up 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? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel 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 earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card for every day costs. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make 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 certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto 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 help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card 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 in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible 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 expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.