Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are important 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 need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your next 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 total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try 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 huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them 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 know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone 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
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.