Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into 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 in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits 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 a few credit cards that are 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 need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re 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 reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. 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 prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.