Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
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 permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost 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 look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some 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 need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
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 to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re 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 using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing 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 help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.