Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking 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 take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for 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 of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. 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 companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re 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 with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up 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, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards for daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.