Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of 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 swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to 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 the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried 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 your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day costs. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. By using an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.