Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel 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 rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify this information. 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?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of 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 gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.