Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial 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 card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total 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 realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be 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 an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing 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 to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to 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 for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t 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 reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.