Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can 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 offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes 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. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial 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
If 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 guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make 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 buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using 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 if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue 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 contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card 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, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.