Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little 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 about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be 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 minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
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 sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it 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! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay everyday costs. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.