Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired 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 all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. 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 ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share 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 a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are many methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.