Are you fed up of spending a fortune on airfare? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of 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 swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
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 to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, 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 offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile 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 in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are many methods 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 a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card 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 the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.