Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $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 check your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important 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 card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t 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 with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable 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 dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. 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 economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the 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 a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up 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 doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to 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 points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make 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 on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.