Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount for your credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.