Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with 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 have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. 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 required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
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 have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most out of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could 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 extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.