Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own 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!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make 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 I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are 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 credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for 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 offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn 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 using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.