Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish 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 use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential 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 or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it 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 the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using your 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 look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.