Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price 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 above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue 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.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there 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 to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off 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 more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up 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 take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card for every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable 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
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling 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 to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.