Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out 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 best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many features and benefits. 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 some credit cards that are great to use for hacking 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there 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, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase 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 will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.