Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through 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 flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount for your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring 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, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover 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 extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from 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. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.