Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
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 establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free 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 that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off 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 off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up 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 doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can 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
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has 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 could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t 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 your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.