Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
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 then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. 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 big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards for daily costs. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.