Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little 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 exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various 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 card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for 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 ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
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 in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret 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 credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater 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 get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.