Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of 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, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically 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 spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday costs. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.