Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
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 later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit 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 make sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future 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 you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards 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 trip, make use of your 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 earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.