Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. 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 cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay 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 your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to use for hacking 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 minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and 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:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.