Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about 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 allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb 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 number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically 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 way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are many methods to get the most out of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.