Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay 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 using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price 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? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet 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 tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on 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 trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount for your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This can 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 pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.