Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can 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 have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, 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 your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. 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.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.