Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using your credit card. Be 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
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming 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 can give an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.