Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are 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 credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done 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 pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for 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 coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got 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, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles 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 you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.