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 turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done 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 your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional 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 help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer 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 will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’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 rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.