Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of 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, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Some 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 friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.