Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay everyday costs. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
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 using this program in the most efficient method. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.