Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify 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 goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have 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 for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to 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 I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , 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. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day costs. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater 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 a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide 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 a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.