Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there 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! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future 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 are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows 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 capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.