Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. 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 full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can 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 buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re 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 with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay everyday costs. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.