Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans 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 make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay 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 look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got 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 are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there 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 to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.