Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
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 make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.