Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved 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 be sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure 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 where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through 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 to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday costs. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.