Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. 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 higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family 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. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing 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 transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large 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 benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of 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 efficient method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.