Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of 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. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely 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 buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might 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 options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.