Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, 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 a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to 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 thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person 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 with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align 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 an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are 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 divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.