Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal 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 about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial 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 limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price 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 in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be 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 bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to 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 carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater 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 Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using 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 efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.