Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
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 later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans 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 you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired 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 with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for everyday costs. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.