Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free 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 pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are 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 card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through 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 book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about 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 accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card for every day costs. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.