Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is 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 towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to hack 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 get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this 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 book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it 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 to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay 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 it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn 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 ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.