Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely 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 buy flights with 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 of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re a few points away, 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 travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make 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 I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and 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 it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card for daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give an access larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel 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 to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.