Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re 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 amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there 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 for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about 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
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay for daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key 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 effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.