Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t 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.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as 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.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.