Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in 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 consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! 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 cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before 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 pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big 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 about 3%. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% 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’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.