Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better 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 look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total 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 full price for your flight tickets? 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 in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give an access larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, 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 credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.