Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of 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 using your credit card in the most efficient method. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.