Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired 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 either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on 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.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.