Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening 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 is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you 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 more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. 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 thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for 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 big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to make the most out of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on 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 vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points 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 you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.