Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better 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 check your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with 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 with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you 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 your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card reward as well, 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 meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of 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 provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer 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 reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are 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. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.