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 way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
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 later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key 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 on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can book flights using 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 not know that when you book 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 cannot combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and 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 a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for 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 can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount for your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. 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 routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track 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 to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.