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Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can 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. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards 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 credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.

Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking

Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial 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

If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!

Ready to jet-set with your points?

After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:

Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.

 

United

Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make 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 like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.

Pay your rent (if you can)

This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.

Make a payment on a medical expense

Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.

Repay a loan

If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.

Ask family members for assistance

Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.

Purchase presents

If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.

There are a lot of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:

Make travel reservations using your credit card

Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.

Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs

Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.

Make the most of bonus categories

Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.

Consider a balance transfer

If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.

Utilize your miles and points prudently

When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.

Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.

Also, find out whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.

If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.

In the end, the most important thing to do 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 making use of your credit card in the most effective method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.