Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can book flights using the 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 flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share 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 if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be 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 bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.