Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some 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. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to use for hacking 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t 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 any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, 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 establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of 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 of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective method. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.