Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging 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 will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay 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 those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve 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 using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays 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 be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a 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 enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.