Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and 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 thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do 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. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.