Author Topic: Travel hacking  (Read 7205 times)

meadow lark

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Travel hacking
« on: December 05, 2012, 10:31:16 AM »
I am trying to add more travel to my life, without derailing my financial goals.   I am new to the airline miles game, but I am finally in a position where I have the time and energy to actually work on this.  We got a South West card and a United card in July, and have paid for 5 round trip tickets to see family with points so far.
  Any tips?  I am trying to read blogs for ideas.  I would love to figure out how to pay my mortgages with credit cards!  So far we have 3 mortgages, so that could add up fast.

mlipps

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2012, 11:50:32 AM »
You should check out FatWallet.com for tips on this stuff. They're crazy about it over there...I don't think there's a way to pay your mortgage with them though, at least not that I've seen.

mustachecat

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2012, 07:01:25 PM »
I'm definitely curious about travel hacking. Still regret not signing up for that 50K + 50K bonus British Airways card that was floating around a while back...

mushroom

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2012, 11:02:33 PM »
I wrote a little about this on the "genius idea for high interest checking" thread yesterday.

Short version: Yes, you can use the new Bluebird system as a way to pay for your mortgage with a credit card.

You can read more about it here: http://thepointsguy.com/2012/11/top-10-ways-to-maximize-miles-and-points-with-pre-paid-reloadable-and-gift-cards/ and http://thepointsguy.com/2012/10/new-american-express-bluebird-card-huge-potential-points-earning/

Although I do think the Vanilla Reload cards are in short supply in certain areas and stores, so you'd want to check on availability in your area before you go this route.

My husband and I just came back from a year-long round the world trip and the majority of our long-haul flights was paid for with miles that we got from credit cards. It's definitely doable and there are a lot of tricks/strategies if you're willing to put in the time and effort.

meadow lark

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2012, 03:21:54 AM »
The whole Vanilla reload and bluebird sounds very confusing - especially after reading all the comments by people who couldn't get it to work right.
  What I have learned so far tonight ( damn insomnia) is how to maximize my SW card.  For us, most of our travel can be with SW  or United, and we have the cc for each, in my partners name.  So I need to work on the companion fare deal - get 110,000 points in 1 year, and you get free companion flights for the rest of that year plus the next.  Anyone who knows more about this feel free to comment.  My plan is to wait for 1/2013 and request a cc for me, and a small business cc.  If I can get both I can 100,000 points from the sign on bonuses (have to make a certain # of purchases, etc. ). Then I should be able to hit that in 2013.  Not positive it will work, but I'll try and report back.  Also, I need to sign up with their dining program (extra points for eating at certain restaurants  - I had tea at one that qualified today, darn it!)  And then use their web page to go through to buy things.  For instance, if you go through their page everything you buy at Walmart.com has 3 points/$, instead of the usual 1 pt/$.  I am planning on buying some Walmart gift cards through the site.  Also Walgreens.com is 3pts/$, and I decided to transfer my Rx's to them a few weeks ago.  This is starting to be fun.
 

shadowmoss

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2012, 06:55:07 AM »
Hmmmm.  I have been putting off getting a new CC until the current ones were paid off.  Done.  I fly United back and forth from here in Honduras to home and use Southwest for travel inside the States.  I usually put my Mom on as a user so she can pay any of my bills in the States.  Do you know if I put her on and get her a duplicate card in her name if her purchases will count?  She shops WalMart and Walgreens fairly often.

meadow lark

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2012, 07:24:39 AM »
Yes, her purchases will count.  My partner has the SW card, and I am a user on her account.
Meadow Lark

meadow lark

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2012, 12:40:21 PM »
  For SW, I signed up with www.rapidrewardsdining.com.   3 pts/$ spent in the restaurants when I use my SW card.  I know a true mustachion would not go out so often, but I am still a work in progress.  My favorite coffee shop is on the list, where My friends and I "rent a seat" for $4 a piece on a regular basis.
  Discovered my plans for buying gift cards for Walmart for points is not gonna work.  GC do not qualify.  And meds at Walgreens.com don't qualify -huh?  It's a frickin drugstore!

smedleyb

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2012, 04:16:45 PM »
I am trying to add more travel to my life, without derailing my financial goals.   I am new to the airline miles game, but I am finally in a position where I have the time and energy to actually work on this.  We got a South West card and a United card in July, and have paid for 5 round trip tickets to see family with points so far.
  Any tips?  I am trying to read blogs for ideas.  I would love to figure out how to pay my mortgages with credit cards!  So far we have 3 mortgages, so that could add up fast.

One of the best ways to pay off mortgages with a credit card is to use CC at a CVS to purchase Vanilla Reload Cards, then use these cards and load them into the new American Express Bluebird card (which is virtually free free).  Yes, to purchase a $500 Vanilla reload card costs around $4, and many CVS stores won't let you use a CC to buy the Vanillas.  Its hit or miss on that end.   But then you can either pull the money out to pay the mortgages, or Bluebird has a Pay Bills option which includes most mortgage companies, utilities, and other potential payees.

Another trick to try is to take the person without a Southwest card and apply for BOTH the personal and business version of the card (if you don't have a legit business, just tell them you sell stuff on Ebay or whatnot and you want to keep your spend separate.  It's what I've done several times).  Each card requires roughly 2K in spend to achieve the 50K bonus.  But here's the catch:  if you accumulate over 110K Rapid Reward points in a single year, for the remainder of that year, plus the following year, you receive a companion pass that allows you to book a reward ticket while allowing a travel companion to travel absolutely free.   Do the math 50K + 50K + 4K from spending on both cards = just spend another 6K, and you got a companion cert.

Each Southwest card with bonus and points from spend gives you roughly $850 worth of airfare. 

That's 2 cards, $1700.

With your companion travelling free, that's another $1700.

That's $3400 in Southwest travel for two cards with 2 x $99 fees.  They key is to get the cards now, so hopefully by early 2013 you hit 110K points and enjoy the companion cert for 20 months.

Good luck!

edit:  just saw Meadow Mark saying the exact same thing above.  Duh smedley!  Look before you leap....

Wait, Meadow Mark started the thread.  Double duh.

Hey Meadow, what exactly are you looking for in term of points?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 04:19:57 PM by smedleyb »

grantmeaname

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2012, 07:11:52 PM »
Meadow Mark = Mustachioed male alter ego of Meadow Lark?

smedleyb

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2012, 07:16:49 PM »
Meadow Mark = Mustachioed male alter ego of Meadow Lark?

lol!

No wonder I'm so damn confused.

edit:  no, wait, it is just me. 
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 07:18:44 PM by smedleyb »

lhamo

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2012, 04:02:30 AM »
Lots of useful information on travel hacking at The Art of Nonconformity.  Chris G is almost all the way to his goal of visiting every country in the world, with a large percentage of the trips made with frequent flyer miles.  He has stuff that you have to pay for, but also a lot of free information.  His site is very much in the spirit of MMM, as well, in terms of encouraging people to live outside the box and figure out what they really want and want to do with their lives.


Gerard

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Re: Travel hacking
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2012, 08:18:43 AM »
I picked up most of my travel hacking tips from http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/. Careful, it's easy to re-focus one's aspie-spectrum planning and detail-obsession (and time!) from being mustachian to racking up those points. At the very least, though, you should use the site to become familiar with mileage runs, hidden city ticketing, fuel dump, and free layover privileges.