Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn 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 like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles 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 example you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re 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 share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.