Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little 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 about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points 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 travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using 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 contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from your travel credit card. earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
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 making use of it in the most effective method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.