Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of 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 as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number 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 generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your 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 total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired 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 either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt 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 to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you 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 see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel 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 someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.