Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in 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’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a 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 an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are many ways to make the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return 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 allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.