Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert 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 imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and 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 bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more 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. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight 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 points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.