Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.