Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in 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 comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with 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 flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together 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.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re 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 using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
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 that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of 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 the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.