Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific 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 use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway 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 this portal 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 travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret 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 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 could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with 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 contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards for every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
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 making use of it in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.