Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired 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 about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider 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 find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- 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 get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could be items like groceries, 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
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards 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 making use of your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.