Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not 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 aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of the travel credit card. earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday costs. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure 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, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.