Are you fed up of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can 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 your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together 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 anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried 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 huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to use towards 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 trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay every day expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use 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 redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective method. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.