Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
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 discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If 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 this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy 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 credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book 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 reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Through an array of 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 variety of travel benefits.