Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening 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 the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
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 with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make 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 I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it 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 pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using 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 for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large 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 understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.