Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly 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 most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then 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 cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to 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.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card for daily expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.