Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine money and points 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 have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can book flights using 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 not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re 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 meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay daily expenses. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.