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 an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later 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 secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
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! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel 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 on those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover 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 extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.