Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to use for hacking travel:
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire 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 the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share 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! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large 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 in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is using your credit card for everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a 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 transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.