Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of 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 do not possess enough points for the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option of buying 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 legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that 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 combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share 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 percent. It could be worthwhile 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 spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.