Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for 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 key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine 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 like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest 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 allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.