Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, 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 as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay 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 any credit card.
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 to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as 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 are currently in 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. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives an access wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.