Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can 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 the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done 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 for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any large 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 it.
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 be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount for your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay everyday costs. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow 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 wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.