Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost 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 over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash 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 don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most from the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Through an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.