Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to hack 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards for daily costs. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.