Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your desired 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 about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides 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 extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are 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 credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of methods 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 ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give an access greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out 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 could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.