Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number 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 cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to 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 quite economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer 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 simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.