Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number 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 generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family 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 quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important 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%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for 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 you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.