Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack 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 your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the 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 book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach 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 in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could include items like groceries, 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
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as 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 routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when 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 track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.