Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
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 purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, 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 ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to nearly 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 funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
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 reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers 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 very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.