Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, 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 vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost 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 in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members 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 are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are many methods to get the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount for your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the 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 prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card 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.