Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a 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 the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready 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 save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach 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 this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there 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 to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend 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 their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.