Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, 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 card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have 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 understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of your 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 some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in 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 transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.