Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
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! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you 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 meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay everyday costs. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and 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 to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key 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 your credit card in the most efficient method. By using an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.