Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are 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 or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? 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 which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay every day expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.