Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal 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 and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. 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 cards excellent 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book 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 sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re a few points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join 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 into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried 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 to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on 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 travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.