Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then 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 money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
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 to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct 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.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to 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 your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay everyday costs. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.