Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising 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. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday costs. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the 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
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
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 make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.