Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! 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:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving 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 miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of 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 efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.