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 credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages 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 card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points 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 the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
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 hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to make the most of your travel credit card. earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to 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 miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could 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 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 capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.