Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, 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 go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 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 excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big 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 taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can 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 could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.