Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little 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 all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? 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, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay daily costs. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.