Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $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 over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent 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 need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s 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 as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when 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 will give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.