Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack travel
- 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 get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make 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 set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.