Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes 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 for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are 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 minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family 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 quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are many ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more 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 meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay every day costs. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.