Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various 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 cards that are 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points 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 the system.
Reach 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 to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you 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 to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the 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 simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.