Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking 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 take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion 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 credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and 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 understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card for daily costs. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about 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 debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make 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 using your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.