Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. 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 cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are many ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get 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 freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, 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 this program in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.