Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise 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 boils down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry 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 credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up 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 understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial 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 example, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.