Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost 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? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re 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 provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
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 pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using 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 family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to 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 debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.