Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in 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 check those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re just a few points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large 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 understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards for everyday costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.