Are you fed up 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 welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with various benefits 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 some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be 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 anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry 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 to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.