Author Topic: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?  (Read 8208 times)

ReadytoLearn

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Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« on: September 06, 2016, 07:49:57 AM »
The GF has been asking me to sign up for a travel card or two in order to build up points and take a vacation outside the US.  Granted, I've had my regular Discover card forever and I don't play the games of maximizing regular credit card incentives, but when I've researched travel cards, they don't seem like it's worth it in my personal situation.

For calendar year 2016, I've averaged $~1200 / month in spending and it's trending downwards.  My GF mentioned Xmas is coming up, but I still think I'll have a hard time meeting the minimum required spend for some of the tops cards:

https://cards.madfientist.com/

Is travel hacking prevalent with Mustachians?  It kind of reminds me of folks who spend $ to get an extra tax break.  Just seems counter intuitive to me and maybe it's cheaper to just watch something like Google Flights and pay out of pocket?  It's really tough for me to spend this $, knowing I'm close to FI, but there has to be a balance I'm told. :)

What say you? (Thanks!)
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 12:04:58 PM by ReadytoLearn »

mskyle

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2016, 08:08:25 AM »
We will kind of time or condense our spending to meet a credit card initial spend. Like, my boyfriend had to have some medical tests, which sucked and was expensive. But he applied for a Chase Sapphire Preferred and put it on that. I always try to owe money on my taxes, so I might apply for a new card around tax time next year. We're probably going to buy a computer for home sometime soon (both of us use our work laptops as our personal computers) - that would help us get to an initial spend. You can even buy gift cards for something you know you're going to need soon. We never spend money just to make the minimum spend - it's always things we would have bought anyway. You can buy a year's worth of lentils or booze or whatever. Prepay your internet or cell phone bill for six months. Hopefully neither the lentils nor the cell phone will get you to the minimum spend all on their own, but my point is there are lots of ways to rearrange your spending without spending more.

You can do this and still *average* $1200 a month in spending - you just do more of it in that initial 3-month period and less of it when you don't have a minimum spend to meet. One card a year is pretty easy for us to do. (We also pool our spending while we're in a minimum spend period - things that we would ordinarily put on our own cards we'll put on the minimum spend card.)

There's also the whole world of manufactured spending, but I don't get into that.

But, like, for that initial CSP spend plus a couple of other bonuses (additional authorized user) we ended up with around 60,000 points, which is enough for both of us to fly RT economy from Boston to Dublin (plus some fees). And we really didn't spend any money we wouldn't have spent anyway.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 08:10:15 AM by mskyle »

lizzzi

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 08:11:54 AM »
For me, it isn't worth it on an ongoing basis. I don't spend enough or travel enough--try to keep monthly spending at $1500 or so--and I don't want to do that manufactured spending thing. I live and travel alone, so can't take advantage of companion passes and such.

Having said that, I signed up for a U.S Airways (later American Airlines after the merger) credit card, and had enough points with the sign-up bonus to go from Pittsburgh to Dublin last year,  round trip for under $50. The deal also included a free one-time pass for the Admiral's Club at JFK--very nice.  I stayed at a hostel in central Dublin for 11 nights, averaging out to $30 per night. I do follow the frugal travel forums and Flyer Talk, just in case something pops up that would be useful to me. But for the most part, I look for cheaper tickets to the places I want to go, and look for hostels that combine comfort, convenience, and economy. I just can't accumulate enough points to do the kind of travel hacking that some do.

Trudie

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2016, 08:14:15 AM »
I do not share the enthusiasm for travel hacking (applying for credit cards) after finding it necessary to completely freeze my credit after a significant security breach/hacking incident that impacted me.

ReadytoLearn

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 08:17:05 AM »
Are you aware of any travel hacking email services that would alert on favorable deals/signups?  I'm not sure I have it in me to monitor ~another~ forum. :p

For me, it isn't worth it on an ongoing basis. I don't spend enough or travel enough--try to keep monthly spending at $1500 or so--and I don't want to do that manufactured spending thing. I live and travel alone, so can't take advantage of companion passes and such.

Having said that, I signed up for a U.S Airways (later American Airlines after the merger) credit card, and had enough points with the sign-up bonus to go from Pittsburgh to Dublin last year,  round trip for under $50. The deal also included a free one-time pass for the Admiral's Club at JFK--very nice.  I stayed at a hostel in central Dublin for 11 nights, averaging out to $30 per night. I do follow the frugal travel forums and Flyer Talk, just in case something pops up that would be useful to me. But for the most part, I look for cheaper tickets to the places I want to go, and look for hostels that combine comfort, convenience, and economy. I just can't accumulate enough points to do the kind of travel hacking that some do.

TheGadfly

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2016, 08:19:46 AM »
I think it's worth it.

$1200 per month is enough to meet most minimum spend requirements (most are $3000 in three months). Some requirements are $4000 or even $5000 in three months, in which case, wait until you need to make a relatively large purchase as mskyle said.

I signed up for about 7 credit cards in a two year time period which allowed me and my wife to travel to Hawaii and stay at 5-star resorts for 10-days. After doing the math, I got about $8000-worth of benefits from points.

One important consideration before you do this: When you use points to stay at resorts, be prepared to overpay for food. It's nice that your $500-per-night hotel room is completely free but the $20 cocktails and $250 dinner-for-two are not.

If you are worried about your bottom line and don't really care to stay at super fancy hotels, it's probably best to focus on getting free flights and pay for less luxurious accommodations.

SimplyMarvie

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2016, 10:22:51 AM »
I have never seen the point of credit card rewards. What HAS been really lucrative for us are hotel loyalty programs... but that might be because I travel a lot for work, and those trips tend to be long stays at name brand hotels where I'm not as price-sensitive because work is footing the bill. So, for example, I'll be at a Hyatt property for a long stay in the next month or so, and so opened a loyalty account with them. I got a 5000 point bonus for opening it, will make 6x points for every dollar I spend, and they're doing a points ladder for qualifying stays in the next 90 days which will give me an additional 75,000 points. Which pays for lodging for our next family vacation in the US, with a bit left over.

I've considered getting a credit card to go along with each of my two favorite hotel brands, but as of right now, it's not worth the hassle. Our problem is that we're really more AirBnB people than fancy hotel people, especially with three kids. Plus, we like to be really close to the action (so we don't have to rent cars) which often rules out fancy hotels, because they tend to be more on the outskirts of older cities. I'm happy to take and have the points, because they do come in useful, but they're not useful enough to disrupt my spending patterns for... at least, not yet.

tonysemail

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2016, 10:46:41 AM »
it costs very little to try, so I think your GF is right.
The main thing is to be organized, disciplined and good with money.  So yeah.

Vertical Mode

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2016, 11:01:08 AM »
It doesn't just have to be about travel, either. Cash back deals can be fairly lucrative, and there are often some low-hanging fruit offers out there from the likes of Bank of America, Chase, etc. If you know you're going to be spending some money anyway, it could put $100 or so back in your pocket with minimal effort. This was how I got my feet wet with it, before getting into the hotel brands' reward programs. If it's all more trouble than you're willing to do, good Cash Rewards cards might be something worth investigating, as you can "set it and forget it" since most of them don't have annual fees attached.

I suppose it also depends on whether you have a demand for travel built into your lifestyle - my GF and I are right in that pocket where everyone is getting married at once, and so have to do a lot of traveling that we might not otherwise do. Might as well take the edge off of it and recoup some of that!


nobody123

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2016, 11:08:56 AM »
It doesn't just have to be about travel, either. Cash back deals can be fairly lucrative, and there are often some low-hanging fruit offers out there from the likes of Bank of America, Chase, etc. If you know you're going to be spending some money anyway, it could put $100 or so back in your pocket with minimal effort. This was how I got my feet wet with it, before getting into the hotel brands' reward programs. If it's all more trouble than you're willing to do, good Cash Rewards cards might be something worth investigating, as you can "set it and forget it" since most of them don't have annual fees attached.

I suppose it also depends on whether you have a demand for travel built into your lifestyle - my GF and I are right in that pocket where everyone is getting married at once, and so have to do a lot of traveling that we might not otherwise do. Might as well take the edge off of it and recoup some of that!

This.  Travel rewards are OK if you frequently travel.  Otherwise, I'd lean towards just getting the normal cash back from a card with better rewards than Discover.  Heck, get the double cash rewards MasterCard and you at least get 2% on everything without having to do anything other than paying your bill.  Personally, I prefer the cash because I can spend it on whatever, I'm not tied into a certain airline or hotel chain, etc.  I do make a couple hundred bucks every year by opening savings accounts with a sign up bonus.  You can do it all online in a couple of minutes and don't have to spend a dime.

Choices

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2016, 07:24:15 PM »
We only do it for companies we know we'll actually use. We visit a lot of small towns so there aren't a lot of hotel options, and we like to be able to choose the cheapest one rather than having to figure out where our points are good.

But, we fly Southwest all the time. There are threads about the Southwest cards (please PM me for a referral link) but basically there's the Premier and the Plus. You get 50K points for each if you spend $2K in the first three months. Plus you get a point for each $ you spend so that's already 104K points. If you spend 6K more, you get a companion pass for the rest of that year and the whole next year, so a spouse or friend flies with you for free. And you can use those 110K points to purchase your flights. The cards have a $99 and $69 annual fee, and you so cancel them after you get enough points. The points basically work out to about 60 points/$1 on the wanna get away fares, so after the fees you're getting $1600+ in free flights and a friend comes free. It's not that much work for over $3200 of rewards.

You can only get this deal every two years, so you can do it and when your companion pass expires your SO can do it. Repeat until they cancel the program.

boarder42

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2016, 04:34:03 AM »
10 days in Hawaii first class flights 5 star hotels jeep rental car free (you don't eat at the resort as one other poster said that's dumb

12 day Mediterranean cruise with booze in a balcony cabin and flights. 900 including our excursions.

That's just this year. If you travel it's worth it. If you want to take one big trip in a couple years and can plan well it's worth it.

The chase sw hack for companion pass is worth it x10

The new chase reserve card is worth it.

I don't know what "small " bonuses you're talking about. 50k American miles with Citi will get one person almost anywhere in the world round trip and that's just with normal spending.

Manufacturered spend is what many use here I spend over 100k a year moving money in a circle.

chasesfish

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2016, 05:41:24 AM »
I'm on the "in between" plan when it comes to Travel Hacking.  I have a Hilton Amex card I've kept for 15 years and earn fair rewards.   I love using the reward stays with the card because they tend to have free breakfast and no annoying occupancy tax.  There's also a local massive Hilton with a water park and I've booked a few days there solely for the staycation.

I go in and out on the bonus cards, had a good streak over the past year but will also go years without.   I enjoy condos when I'm on vacation for the kitchen/washer dryer, so I could end up with more room nights than I can use. 

In total, you need at least a rewards card, then how much you do above that is up to you.

boarder42

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2016, 06:25:47 AM »
the rewards you're getting on that hilton card are probably much worse than using specific cards for categories on your daily spend.  hilton points are mostly garbage in the realm of value.  for everyday spending you should have a gas card that gets 3%+ cash back, a grocery card like the amex blue preferred that gives 6% cash back.  most other spending doesnt fit in the realm of a need for life so you probably shouldnt have/need a specific card for it.

Disposaleer

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2016, 08:57:44 AM »
I just want to say thank you for introducing me to Google Flights.

FLBiker

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2016, 09:12:53 AM »
Totally worth it.  The key is signup bonuses.  DW and I also tend to spend ~$1200 per month on credit cards.  We are always working on a 3 month bonus for something or other.  Typically, these bonuses require just $3000, sometimes $4 or 5000 (in which case we might have to prepay something -- once, I bought 2 $500 visa cards to hit a $5000 spend).  When we fly, we almost always fly for free.  And we currently have a companion pass on SW.  I've never done manufactured spending (other than those 2 visa cards) and it is dead easy.

We haven't found hotel points to be super useful (we prefer something like VRBO) but we actually just used 1 night of Hilton points for a wedding and 3 from an IHG card to visit my grandmother.  I prefer airmiles, though, and I've become a SW convert because they fly direct to where my family is.  I resisted for a while because they don't waive the annual fee for the first year, but we spent $170 in annual fees (for one personal and one business) and now have a companion pass through the end of next year (plus 110K miles).  Good stuff!

I haven't messed around with the cashback stuff, but that seems good if you don't travel.  There's really no downside to rotating your credit card spending through signup bonuses every three months.  My credit score is 813, and I've been doing this for years.

SnackDog

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2016, 09:20:59 AM »
You really need to understand what you are doing and model a legitimate base case vs the card scenario. What most people fail to realize and what most card companies bank on, is you will buy things that you would not have without the card. This starts with the fee!  Once you have locked in the fee you will feel the need to spend more to get your money back. Only you are not getting your money back. You are spending more!!

The comparison is buying little and having a frugal vacation you pay for vs buying crap you don't need and getting a free vacation with potentially a bunch if non frugal add ons. Buyer beware!

chasesfish

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2016, 10:45:00 AM »
the rewards you're getting on that hilton card are probably much worse than using specific cards for categories on your daily spend.  hilton points are mostly garbage in the realm of value.  for everyday spending you should have a gas card that gets 3%+ cash back, a grocery card like the amex blue preferred that gives 6% cash back.  most other spending doesnt fit in the realm of a need for life so you probably shouldnt have/need a specific card for it.

Thanks for the feedback, I'll play around with some spreadsheets and see what the value is to me now.  It's the Hilton Amex Surpass and we used to consistently get $25k/year on it, but now that Costco switched it may not be worth it.

Rubic

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2016, 12:24:47 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, I'll play around with some spreadsheets and see what the value is to me now.  It's the Hilton Amex Surpass and we used to consistently get $25k/year on it, but now that Costco switched it may not be worth it.

If you like the Hilton points, you can get 75,000 bonus points via the Citi HHonors card
after $2K of spending within 3 months of your approved application.  FYI.

chasesfish

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2016, 12:41:14 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I've burned my Citi signup bonus with the AA cards recently

chesebert

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2016, 12:41:25 PM »
10 days in Hawaii first class flights 5 star hotels jeep rental car free (you don't eat at the resort as one other poster said that's dumb

12 day Mediterranean cruise with booze in a balcony cabin and flights. 900 including our excursions.

That's just this year. If you travel it's worth it. If you want to take one big trip in a couple years and can plan well it's worth it.

The chase sw hack for companion pass is worth it x10

The new chase reserve card is worth it.

I don't know what "small " bonuses you're talking about. 50k American miles with Citi will get one person almost anywhere in the world round trip and that's just with normal spending.

Manufacturered spend is what many use here I spend over 100k a year moving money in a circle.
How did you pull that off?

Rubic

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2016, 12:58:55 PM »
You really need to understand what you are doing and model a legitimate base case vs the card scenario. What most people fail to realize and what most card companies bank on, is you will buy things that you would not have without the card. This starts with the fee!  Once you have locked in the fee you will feel the need to spend more to get your money back. Only you are not getting your money back. You are spending more!!

It's true the banks are counting on their customers to spend more and pay
higher fees.  If that weren't true, this opportunity wouldn't exist for us.  It's
also true that if humans were rational, there would be no casinos.

Most people I know in the CC churning game are extremely analytical
about their expenses and what their points are worth.  Most of my annual fee
cards come with the first year fee waived, and I'm pretty conservative about
the value of the points/miles I earn. 

Two examples of recent cards:
  • Wells Fargo World Propel.  Minimum spend $3K/3 months. Reward: $100 travel credit + $400 check.  Annual fee waived the first year.
  • Bank of America.  Minimum spend $1K/3 months. Reward: 25K Alaska Air miles (transferable to air partners), $100 statement credit.  Annual fee $75 (not waived).
These rewards are low (for me) because I've pretty much picked the low-hanging fruit
during my first two years of churning: Chase, Citi, Amex, Barclays, etc.

Since I dutifully track everything I spend on each credit card, I'm probably even
more frugal than before I started.  Lately, unless I have upcoming reimbursable
business expenses, I actually have a hard time with minimum spend unless
I do manufactured spending.

But the most limiting factor is the tightening up of the bank terms for the signup
bonuses (5/24 Chase, 24 month Citi, 1-per-lifetime Amex).  If you haven't applied
for a lot of cards recently and are disciplined enough to frugally meet the minimum
spend requirements, travel hacking can be a great opportunity.  You are essentially
letting the spendthrifts fund your travel, in much the same way the lottery ticket
buyers pay for college tuition expenses in my state.



Vertical Mode

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2016, 09:16:55 PM »
You really need to understand what you are doing and model a legitimate base case vs the card scenario. What most people fail to realize and what most card companies bank on, is you will buy things that you would not have without the card. This starts with the fee!  Once you have locked in the fee you will feel the need to spend more to get your money back. Only you are not getting your money back. You are spending more!!

It's true the banks are counting on their customers to spend more and pay
higher fees.  If that weren't true, this opportunity wouldn't exist for us.  It's
also true that if humans were rational, there would be no casinos.

Most people I know in the CC churning game are extremely analytical
about their expenses and what their points are worth.  Most of my annual fee
cards come with the first year fee waived, and I'm pretty conservative about
the value of the points/miles I earn. 

Two examples of recent cards:
  • Wells Fargo World Propel.  Minimum spend $3K/3 months. Reward: $100 travel credit + $400 check.  Annual fee waived the first year.
  • Bank of America.  Minimum spend $1K/3 months. Reward: 25K Alaska Air miles (transferable to air partners), $100 statement credit.  Annual fee $75 (not waived).
These rewards are low (for me) because I've pretty much picked the low-hanging fruit
during my first two years of churning: Chase, Citi, Amex, Barclays, etc.

Since I dutifully track everything I spend on each credit card, I'm probably even
more frugal than before I started.  Lately, unless I have upcoming reimbursable
business expenses, I actually have a hard time with minimum spend unless
I do manufactured spending.

But the most limiting factor is the tightening up of the bank terms for the signup
bonuses (5/24 Chase, 24 month Citi, 1-per-lifetime Amex).  If you haven't applied
for a lot of cards recently and are disciplined enough to frugally meet the minimum
spend requirements, travel hacking can be a great opportunity.  You are essentially
letting the spendthrifts fund your travel, in much the same way the lottery ticket
buyers pay for college tuition expenses in my state.

All of this, but especially your note on the bottom. I've stopped for now because of Chase's 5/24 rule and I'm trying to get that Sapphire Preferred signup bonus. Once I can get all of that squared away, I'm going to a regular stable of cards, plus the odd cash back bonus here and there.

flashpacker

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2016, 11:31:07 PM »
It can be worth it even if you don't travel.  Example: apply for a card like the Barclays Arrival Plus where the sign up bonus can only be redeemed as credits against spending in the "travel" category.  You could buy some airline gift cards (directly from the airline website) and sell them to  gift card reseller (or family/friends) to cash out most of the bonus without traveling.


boarder42

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2016, 03:59:28 AM »
It can be worth it even if you don't travel.  Example: apply for a card like the Barclays Arrival Plus where the sign up bonus can only be redeemed as credits against spending in the "travel" category.  You could buy some airline gift cards (directly from the airline website) and sell them to  gift card reseller (or family/friends) to cash out most of the bonus without traveling.

Inefficient. Just use the united app to buy Amazon gift cards.

chesebert

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2016, 07:07:27 AM »
It can be worth it even if you don't travel.  Example: apply for a card like the Barclays Arrival Plus where the sign up bonus can only be redeemed as credits against spending in the "travel" category.  You could buy some airline gift cards (directly from the airline website) and sell them to  gift card reseller (or family/friends) to cash out most of the bonus without traveling.

Inefficient. Just use the united app to buy Amazon gift cards.
Not always coded as travel.

ender

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2016, 07:08:09 AM »
All of this, but especially your note on the bottom. I've stopped for now because of Chase's 5/24 rule and I'm trying to get that Sapphire Preferred signup bonus. Once I can get all of that squared away, I'm going to a regular stable of cards, plus the odd cash back bonus here and there.

Get the Sapphire Reserve instead.

On topic here, for minimal effort (other than obsessive research time), we're about to clear $1500 worth of cashback or $2k+ worth of rewards this year and that's just from the Chase Sapphire and Reserve cards.

It can be worth it even if you don't travel.  Example: apply for a card like the Barclays Arrival Plus where the sign up bonus can only be redeemed as credits against spending in the "travel" category.  You could buy some airline gift cards (directly from the airline website) and sell them to  gift card reseller (or family/friends) to cash out most of the bonus without traveling.

Inefficient. Just use the united app to buy Amazon gift cards.

Does this code it as travel? I need to spend $300 in travel expenses this calendar year for my reserve card and this seems like a brilliant way to do it.

boarder42

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2016, 07:21:15 AM »
yes ender it does.

chesebert

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2016, 08:23:45 AM »
yes ender it does.
No it does not. Tried it and statement showed Amazon rather than United.

boarder42

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2016, 08:27:56 AM »
thats a wierd thing that you have experienced.  i've used it as recently as a month ago and it was fine.

chesebert

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2016, 08:51:56 AM »
thats a wierd thing that you have experienced.  i've used it as recently as a month ago and it was fine.
We are talking Chase and Milage Plus X, correct? If yes, no travel credit.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2016, 09:23:08 AM »
@$1200 a month you can hit basically any signup bonus. Plus you can just pre-pay things like the power bill... (Not manufactured spending)

My wife is HUGE on travel hacking.

We went....
.. to Maui first class for 9 days entirely free at a top resort (Andaz)
.. flying to FL for 9 days and a cruise for nearly free (in 2 weeks! yay)
.. Tokyo next May business class with 9 nights again... free.
.. (Many smaller trips to places like CA, Vegas, NY on southwest with companion status)

Fuji, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Dubai are on our list for trips before 2020, all of these combined will probably cost less than $5,000 factoring in all credit card fees, airline fees, and various nights we won't be able to cover with points/certs.

NotJen

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2016, 09:27:21 AM »
thats a wierd thing that you have experienced.  i've used it as recently as a month ago and it was fine.
We are talking Chase and Milage Plus X, correct? If yes, no travel credit.

It depends on the credit card you are charging to.  AmEx codes MPX as a United charge.  Chase doesn't code it as travel (as mentioned above).  I'm not sure about other credit card processors (I am now curious about Barclays <--- just looked it up, looks like all Mastercards are a no-go.  AmEx seems to be unique in the coding for this).
« Last Edit: September 08, 2016, 09:38:16 AM by NotJen »

gardeningandgreen

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #33 on: September 08, 2016, 09:59:27 AM »
We aren't usually able to hit the sign up bonuses but. This year we built a garage and are also getting married(yes this is a terrible idea. I know.) So we were able to hit the sign up bonus on 2 different cards and pay for our 2 flights to Europe. It will be the awesome getaway that we will need desperately in October after everything is finished! So it can be worth it if you don't spend extra!

ReadytoLearn

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #34 on: September 08, 2016, 01:59:10 PM »
My power bill is $20-$30 per month, but you are saying instead of paying the full balance each month, just send them a wad of money upfront?

@$1200 a month you can hit basically any signup bonus. Plus you can just pre-pay things like the power bill... (Not manufactured spending)

My wife is HUGE on travel hacking.

We went....
.. to Maui first class for 9 days entirely free at a top resort (Andaz)
.. flying to FL for 9 days and a cruise for nearly free (in 2 weeks! yay)
.. Tokyo next May business class with 9 nights again... free.
.. (Many smaller trips to places like CA, Vegas, NY on southwest with companion status)

Fuji, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Dubai are on our list for trips before 2020, all of these combined will probably cost less than $5,000 factoring in all credit card fees, airline fees, and various nights we won't be able to cover with points/certs.

boarder42

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #35 on: September 08, 2016, 02:05:31 PM »
@$1200 a month you can hit basically any signup bonus. Plus you can just pre-pay things like the power bill... (Not manufactured spending)

My wife is HUGE on travel hacking.

We went....
.. to Maui first class for 9 days entirely free at a top resort (Andaz)
.. flying to FL for 9 days and a cruise for nearly free (in 2 weeks! yay)
.. Tokyo next May business class with 9 nights again... free.
.. (Many smaller trips to places like CA, Vegas, NY on southwest with companion status)

Fuji, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Dubai are on our list for trips before 2020, all of these combined will probably cost less than $5,000 factoring in all credit card fees, airline fees, and various nights we won't be able to cover with points/certs.

this sounds like our trips ... haha

10 days maui for free resort hopped but stayed at Grand Wailea / Hyatt regency / sheraton black rock / first class flights / jeep rental car -
12 day european cruise - balcony cabin with booze included - was 2800 when booked i knocked it down to 900 bucks with credit cards.  flying coach over and back as i was lighter on miles this go round
11 day camper trip around seattle - free with travel hacks

flying all over the US for free chicago vegas etc. companion pass and hotel stays.  so easy. if you travel you gotta do it rightl

chesebert

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2016, 02:06:20 PM »
I don't understand how everyone is getting free cruises...

boarder42

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Re: Travel Hacking doesn't seem like it's worth it. Maybe?
« Reply #37 on: September 08, 2016, 02:14:32 PM »
I don't understand how everyone is getting free cruises...

pretty simple

barclay arrival plus - 450 bucks x2 people 900 dollars
capital one venture card 450 bucks x2 people 900 dollars
bank of america travel rewards card - 200 bucks a quarter per person - 1600 a year

free cruise

search for and book your cruise a year or so in advance and shop for a good deal with crucon or something from travelzoo that includes booze and gratuities. boom.