Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
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 nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine money and points to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into 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 challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a 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 will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount for your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards for every day costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so 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. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail 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 credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give an access wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.