Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem 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 sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for 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 miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share 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! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have 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 are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.