Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number 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 cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
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! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and 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 taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay daily costs. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card 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 high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.