Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using 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 can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry 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 to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay 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 pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return 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 in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.