Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel 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 buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be 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?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost 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 in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re 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 using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay a 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 the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them 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 know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.