Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret 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 for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning 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 various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.