Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely 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 cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably 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. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.