Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion 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 a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it 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 pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover 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 repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of 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 some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value 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 have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.