Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account 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 bonus. There are many great credit cards with many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend 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 pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any large 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 doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing 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 paying more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for every day costs. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.