Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, 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 buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies 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. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on 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 your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.