Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve 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 any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to 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 like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re 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 with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically 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 spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Be 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 determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.