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 turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost 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 later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great to hack travel
- 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 get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely 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 entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through 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 a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might 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 larger 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 whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.