Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return 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 will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program of 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 extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.