Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay 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 your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent 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 or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with 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 flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay every day costs. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide 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 get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.