Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are 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 card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything 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 in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending 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 will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day costs. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a 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 choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.