Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up 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 goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay daily expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.