Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car 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 a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. 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 excellent 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 card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely 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 full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share 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! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending 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 them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection 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 frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.