Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost 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 then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in 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 check your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a 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 reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover 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 could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.