Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired 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 can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, 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 pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute 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 doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value 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 enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when 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 programme. This gives you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.