Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be 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 points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every 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 either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. 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 or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into 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 taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching 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 the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.