Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using 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 using dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to 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 required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card to pay every day costs. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.