Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not 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 flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are many ways to get the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow 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 wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase an 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 freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do 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 your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.