Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting 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 amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.