Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are 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 need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.