Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing 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 space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, 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 for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align 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, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.