Are you tired of spending 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 airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
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 pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the costs.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.