Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine money and points to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it 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, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with 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 help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This will give an access wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.