Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount 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 travel hacking? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various advantages and features. It depends on the type of 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 for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! 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 in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your 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 members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday costs. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give an access larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.