Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $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 those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, 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 quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some 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 and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.