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Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. 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 desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost 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. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.

How Does it Work?

The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.

Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking

Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various benefits 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 that are great to hack travel

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase United Explorer
  • JetBlue Mastercard
  • Capital One Venture X

If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!

Are you ready to set sail with your points?

Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:

Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward

If you own an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have 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 trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.

 

United

Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure 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 that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.

Hit that Minimum Spend

If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a 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 for your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.

Make a payment on a medical expense

Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.

Pay off a loan

If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.

Ask family for help

Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.

Give presents

If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already planning to.

There are a lot of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:

Make travel reservations using your credit card

Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenditures.

Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses

Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.

Make the most of bonus categories

Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.

Take into consideration a balance transfer

If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.

Use your points or miles wisely

Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to 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 your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.

Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.

Also, discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.

When you travel with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.

In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.