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The Potential For 500,000+ Points!

travel hacking Jul 11, 2024

My email has been flooded over the past few days.

Many of the travel hackers I follow are sending out red hot alerts about this new card bonus.

And they aren’t exaggerating.

It really is amazing!

It’s the highest welcome bonus ever for this card.

120,000 points for $8,000 in spend over 3 months with a $95 annual fee.

It’s the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card.

Now, don’t immediately write it off because it’s a business card.

Hang with me for a second.

You may be thinking, “But I don’t have a business, are you sure this applies to me?

Are you sure you don't have a business?

Do you know how these card companies define a business?

Do you make any money on the side? If so, you have a business.

Do you plan to make money on the side & you’re just getting started? If so, you have a business.

The definition of “business” for these credit card companies is quite expansive.

You don’t have to have an LLC or be...

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Fleeing a Hurricane

travel hacking Jul 04, 2024

I wrote a newsletter recently about our upcoming summer trip to the Cayman Islands.

Well, if you’ve been watching the news, you’ve probably heard about Hurricane Beryl.

The hurricane developed in the eastern Caribbean a few days after we arrived in the Caymans.

As each day passed, the hurricane grew in strength and the locals expressed to us great concern that it could be like the devastating Hurricane Ivan that flattened the Caymans in 2004.

We knew we needed to make plans to leave early, especially before the last minute panic that would likely ensue if we waited until the hurricane got much closer.

I was so thankful for travel rewards!

Our plan was to book an additional flight the day before our scheduled departure flight. Then we would watch the weather and determine if we should leave a day early or keep our original flight.

I had originally booked with American (via British Airways) but I couldn’t book another flight the day before because it had pretty...

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Cheap Medical Insurance for Travel

travel hacking Jun 20, 2024

Our family is excited to be leaving the country soon for a summer trip to the Cayman Islands.

Often, when people spend quite a bit of money on a trip, they’ll purchase travel insurance in case something comes up that interrupts the trip.

Travel Insurance will typically include medical insurance which covers you if you’re traveling to an area where your health insurance wouldn’t cover medical costs. But it can come at a high cost.

When you book with points, you’re not as concerned about comprehensive travel insurance because you didn’t pay much money for the trip to begin with. And, often, you can get your points back if you cancel ahead of time.

But, what about medical costs? What if there’s an emergency and your medical insurance won’t cover it? That could set you back thousands of dollars. And if they need to evacuate you to a place where there’s better medical care, that could be tens of thousands of dollars.

Enter GeoBlue Travel...

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50k —> 85k Welcome Bonus Increase

travel hacking Jun 06, 2024

The Southwest personal cards have been sitting at a 50k welcome bonus for awhile now.

The reason I know is because one of our host daughters from Afghanistan has been really wanting to get this card. I’ve been telling her to hold out for a higher welcome bonus.

She was so excited when I emailed her this new elevated welcome bonus offer yesterday.

It’s a limited time welcome bonus of 85,000 points on all 3 of the Southwest personal cards.

It expires 19 days from now.

If you’re looking to get the Companion Pass, I’d encourage you to pass on this offer and wait to get this card until later in the year.

But if you’re just looking for a Southwest card with a great welcome bonus, this is definitely a good time to get it.

There are 3 Southwest personal cards offering this bonus: Plus, Premier & Priority

Here are the main differences:


  • 3,000 bonus points each year on card anniversary
  • 2 early bird check-ins
  • 2x points spent on Southwest purchases
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I Booked 2 Free Vacations Last Week

travel hacking May 24, 2024

My wife and I had been talking about booking a summer and winter vacation this year but we were undecided on where to go.

Then we got an email from the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Colorado. We’ve gone skiing there over Christmas the last 2 years. We hadn’t planned to go again this year but they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. :)

They emailed saying if we booked again by May 15th, they’d give us 10,000 points off per night! For our 4 night stay, that’d be an extra 40,000 points saved. Sign me up!

The rooms are typically 45,000 Hyatt points per night because the cash price is so high. Right now, the cash price is $1,026/night. The reason for this is that the resort is ski-in/ski-out right on the slopes.

I then booked 2 American flights to the nearby airport using our AA points and 2 more flights through British Airways (a partner with American) so I could use my Chase points.

This is a great hack to taking more American flights on points. Transfer...

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Big Bonus on One of the Best Cards

travel hacking May 10, 2024

One of the best travel rewards cards on the market is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

The welcome bonus is typically 60,000 points after $4,000 in spend in the first 3 months of the card.

They just increased the bonus to 75,000 points.

Those extra 15,000 points could be worth an additional ~$300 in free travel for a total of over $1,000 in free travel through that one welcome bonus.

This card has a $95 annual fee with the following perks:

  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel
  • $50 annual hotel credit
  • 3x points on restaurants
  • 2x points on other travel purchases

Just the hotel credit & your restaurant spend will likely make this card worth keeping.

Also, this card gives you the ability to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Chase’s travel partners. This is often the best way to maximize the value of each point.

If you don’t have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, now would be a good time to take a look!

And if you decide to get it, here's...

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Is a $695 Annual Fee Worth It?

travel hacking Apr 12, 2024

I was just approved for the American Express Platinum card last week.

The annual fee is $695.

Am I crazy?

Maybe a little - haha!

For me, as I calculated the benefits I’d receive from the card, I found that I would receive far more in benefits from the card than the $695 fee I would pay this year.

Here are a few of the benefits that are valuable to me:

  • 100,000 welcome bonus = ~$2,000 in free travel
  • 30,000 referral bonus (from my wife referring to me) = ~$600 in free travel
  • $200 in statement credits for hotels = $200 in value
  • $200 airline fee credit for incidental fees = $200 in value
  • $12.95/mo Walmart+ Credit ($0.10 reduction in gas at certain stations + free grocery/online delivery) = $155 in value (not including gas savings)
  • $20/mo Entertainment Credit (can be used toward my Hulu subscription) = $240 in value
  • $15/mo Uber cash + $20 in December (which we’ll use to cover some of our regular eating out budget each month) = $200 in value
  • $189 in statement...
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Does Applying for New Cards Hurt Your Credit Score?

travel hacking Apr 05, 2024

Many people think if you apply for too many new cards, your credit score will suffer.

That’s simply not true.

In fact, new cards add new accounts to your credit which can improve your credit score.

And new cards, and new credit limits, actually reduce your overall credit utilization which also helps your credit score.

Because of the “hard” credit pull when a credit card issuer pulls your credit, you may notice a few point temporary drop in your credit score, but it shouldn’t be long before it comes right back up again. So, don’t apply for a credit card the day before you go & apply for a mortgage (that’s two “hard” credit pulls back to back).

Again, long-term, more accounts help your credit score.

What keeps your credit score high is:

  • Making all of your payments on time
  • Not getting derogatory marks (from other types of bills going to collections)
  • Keeping your credit card utilization low

Don’t believe the myth that...

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Big Purchase? Choose A Card Strategically!

travel hacking Feb 09, 2024

We recently found a gas leak at our house. When the plumber came out, he found another one. And then another one. And then… you get the idea. No fun.

Total bill? $11,000. Ouch!

When he gave me the invoice, I asked if I could pay with a card instead of a check.

He had to call the office - LOL! I guess that doesn’t happen much.

He said they would accept a card (although it definitely wasn’t their preference).

I knew I needed to be strategic with which card I used because I knew I could earn the equivalent of a round trip ticket anywhere in the US by using the right one.

I wanted to use a card that had a high reward multiple on every day spend.

I have the Capital One Venture X card which earns 2x on all purchases. That is the one I used.

$11,000 x 2 = 22,000 Capital One Miles (easily a round trip ticket)

While we were disappointed in the big gas line repair, I was at least thankful to get a free trip out of it - haha!

Lesson: Always try to use a strategic credit...

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When to Cancel Your Credit Card

travel hacking Jan 12, 2024

I’ve written quite a bit about how to apply for credit cards, but not as much about when to cancel them. And canceling them at the right time is very important.

Many of the premium credit cards I recommend have annual fees ranging from $65-$200 per year.

These annual fees are totally worth paying in the first year because the welcome bonus on these cards is often worth thousands of dollars.

But what about in the second year, and third year, and so on?

It really just depends on the card.

I’d say, as a general rule, I cancel most of my credit cards at the one year mark from when I was approved for them.

A few weeks ago, I had 3 annual fees hit various cards since these cards are beginning their second year.

This is usually my reminder to decide whether I want to keep the card or cancel it.

The good news is that, for most cards, when the annual fee hits, you have about 30 days to cancel the card & get a refund of the annual fee. It’s very common for me to see an...

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