Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful 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’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are 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 card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to 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 or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. 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 excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.