Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full 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 full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share 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! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card for every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.