Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started 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 offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can 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 trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can buy flights with 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 not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your 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 wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Through 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 enjoy a wide range of travel perks.