Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn 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 to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is using your credit card for everyday costs. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
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 then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a 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.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.