Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved 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 rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique 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 into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay them 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 the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about 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 the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination 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 benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.