Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert 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 bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be 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 and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial 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 benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.