Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing 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 legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the 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 huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future 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 are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card for every day costs. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
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 to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.