Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading 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 will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great 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 receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire 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 the full cost 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 that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend 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 our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.