Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, 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 as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. 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 travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. 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 excellent 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret 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 with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay 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 family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your 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 making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.