Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired 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 using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to 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 challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective method. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.