Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is 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 hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer 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 some credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using 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 can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re just a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to 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 buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried 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 to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. Through an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.