Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer 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 score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you 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 as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider 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 the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.