Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready 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 some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay 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 the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future 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 this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most out of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards 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 trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This can give an access wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.