Are you tired 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 turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
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 to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check 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
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be 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 buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.