Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert 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 creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be 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 guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line 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 that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
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 then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has 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 could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.