Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to use for hacking 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 qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may 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 required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay every day costs. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. 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 the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
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 compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return 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 allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.