Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy 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 frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages 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 cards great to use for hacking 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance 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? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you 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.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for 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 coming up Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.