Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full price, you can 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 your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family 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 difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate 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 understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to make the most from your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.