Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking 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 take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few 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 card you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire 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 realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re just a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. 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 anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re 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 with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. 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 could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.