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 way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired 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 all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using 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 using dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re just a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big 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 you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t 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 understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.