Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to use for hacking travel:
- 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan 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 have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can 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 your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to 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 economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue additional 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. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.