Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, 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 pay your rent using credit card, go for 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.
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 coming up Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. 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 the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as 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 earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card for daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give an access wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.