Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine money and points to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! 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 flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.