Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
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 nice getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it 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 to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and 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 have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest 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 allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you 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 rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This gives an access greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective method. Through all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.