Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can 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 rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to 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 your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got 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 understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for every day expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use 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 when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track 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 ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.