Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to 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 flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run 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 then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are many ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever 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. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use 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 freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.