Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
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 discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it 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 with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card to pay every day costs. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has 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 spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for 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 might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give an access wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some 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 someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.