Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is 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? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it 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 spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on 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 enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.