Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? 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 features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can 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 into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
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 traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for 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. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.