Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts 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 bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, 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 more space and complimentary 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 is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
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 at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
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 gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from your travel credit card and 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 the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail 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 the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.