Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts 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 bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire 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 tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into 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 are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out 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 suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay every day expenses. 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 pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. 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 with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.