Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way 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 dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can 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. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of 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 of your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.