Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel 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 cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are 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 card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option of buying 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 space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. 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, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share 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 a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute 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 doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better 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 will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has 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 very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.