Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost 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 above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent 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 minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before 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 thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
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 then compare 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 option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives an access greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.