Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some 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 limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover 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 the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you 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 determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better 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 your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.