Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to 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 thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month 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, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. 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’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.