Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to 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 You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are 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 around 3%. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so 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 contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most from your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.