Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually 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 and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using 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 flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
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 reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share 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, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending 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 can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be 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 understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.