Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.