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Family Ski Trip to Colorado

travel hacking Jul 22, 2022

Last year, because we had accumulated so many travel rewards, I gave each of our daughters the opportunity to plan a trip anywhere in the US. My youngest daughter chose Southern California & I wrote about that trip in the blog — How I Booked a Free 9-Night Trip to California.

My oldest daughter wanted to go skiing.

Our family loves staying in Hyatt hotels, so we looked for a Hyatt near good ski slopes. We found a Park Hyatt, one of our favorite Hyatt brands, in Beaver Creek, Colorado. My wife and I grew up skiing in Colorado but neither of us had been to Beaver Creek. What we loved about this Park Hyatt was that it was a ski-in/ski-out resort. Meaning, you could basically ski up to the hotel. Often on the ski trips my wife & I took growing up, you’d have to drive 45 minutes down the mountain to where you were staying after you finished skiing for the day. We thought it would be fun to get to stay right on the slopes.

We booked the trip for this upcoming...

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How to Begin a Tentmaking Journey

Maybe you’ve thought about doing some tentmaking on the side but you’re not sure where to begin.

I’d love to help.

By tentmaking, we mean earning money to support your ministry from outside your ministry. This could be supplemental income if you already have a ministry income. Or it could completely replace a ministry income and you could derive all of your income outside of your ministry.

Here are 4 steps to begin a tentmaking journey:

1. Determine how much extra income you need

Are you just needing an extra $5,000 each year? Or are you needing part-time income? Or do you need full-time income? This will help you decide what types of tentmaking opportunities to pursue.

2. Determine how much time you have to generate this extra income

Do you only have a few hours available each week or could you spend more time? Depending on the type of ministry you’re in now, you may either have quite a bit of flexibility to pursue tentmaking on the side or you may have...

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Couples Trip to Broadway in NYC

travel hacking Jun 10, 2022

When our family heard that Hugh Jackman was starring on Broadway in the classic musical, The Music Man, our family members started booking tickets. So far, 7 family members have gone in the last couple of months.

My wife & I enjoy Broadway shows as well, and although we’ve been to NYC several times, we started getting the itch to go again.

We had actually planned a couples trip to the Caribbean, but due to some fairly stringent COVID restrictions in the place we were going, we decided to rebook to NYC. This was somewhat last minute, so the point totals I’m going to share are likely higher than you might pay if you booked further out. But I wanted to give you another example of how we booked this trip for “nearly” free.

Flights:

  • My wife used 42,526 points (because it was last minute) on her Southwest account for a flight to La Guardia...
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Don't Forget About Business Cards

travel hacking Apr 29, 2022

If you are serious about racking up travel rewards, you definitely don’t want to miss the big bonuses often offered on business cards.

Many people assume they can’t get business cards because they don’t own their own business.

But, credit card carriers aren’t as picky as you might think about what constitutes a business.

You don’t have to have an LLC or a corporation or a partnership formed to be a business in the eyes of the credit card company.

You can simply be a sole proprietor.

Here are some examples of businesses you may already have (or could start) that would qualify:

  • Real estate agent
  • House flipper
  • Airbnb host
  • Landlord
  • Blogger
  • Tutor

You get the idea. The list could go on.

And if you don’t currently do anything that would qualify as a business, why not start something small on the side? It would provide another stream of income in addition to qualifying you for these business card bonuses.

Even if you don’t have a long...

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Easily Earn Thousands of Extra Points

travel hacking Mar 25, 2022

Did you know there’s a way to earn thousands in travel rewards each year without applying for any new cards? I love earning points this way!

It’s through Refer-A-Friend bonuses.

Many cards will give you bonus points for referring a friend who signs up for the same card. I try to max out these friend referrals each year because they give you tens of thousands of extra points.

Not all cards have refer-a-friend bonuses & not all cards that do have the same bonus. And, on top of that, the various cards often change the bonuses.

Here are some examples (I’m going to focus on Chase cards here but other carriers will have them as well):

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card - 15,000 bonus points for each friend who signs up with a maximum of 75,000 per year. If you get 5 friends to sign up & receive the 75,000 points, that’s equal to approximately $1,500 in free travel (~2 cents per Chase point).
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Couples Trip to Charleston in the Fall

travel hacking Feb 11, 2022

A few years ago as our travel rewards started to accumulate, I asked my wife if she wanted to go on a Fall trip.

I bet you can guess her answer.

We spent some time looking at the Travel + Leisure best places to visit website and consistently found Charleston, South Carolina on many of the lists.

My wife was eager to head to the east coast around the time the leaves would be changing colors. We had never been to Charleston before, so we booked the trip.

Here are the details:

  • We had generated enough Chase UR points (Ultimate Rewards) to be able to transfer them 1:1 to both Southwest and Hyatt. Southwest & Hyatt are both travel partners of Chase, so we could simply go to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards website, click on Transfer to Travel Partners, & transfer 1,000+ Chase points for 1,000+ Southwest or Hyatt points.
  • We flew from Lubbock, with a stop in Dallas, on the way to Charleston. The number of Southwest points we needed was about 25,000 points each. At that time we...
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More Companion Pass Perks

travel hacking Jan 07, 2022

This blog post is a continuation of the last post. You can read that first here if you haven't already: The Holy Grail of Travel Rewards.

The Southwest Companion pass truly is an amazing travel reward!

In fact, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

You can get it again, and again, and again. And not just you. Your spouse can get it too.

My wife and I have both had a Companion Pass for the last 2 years and we are about to renew my wife’s for another 2 years. That means that both of our daughters have traveled free as our companions on all of the trips we've been on the last few years.

How cool is that?

Here are the details.

You are allowed to receive the welcome bonuses on the Southwest cards once in a 24 month period. If you earn the bonuses on both a Southwest personal & business card right at the beginning of the year (and reach the 125,000 points), you'll have the Companion Pass for the rest of that year & all of the following year (nearly 2 years). By the time...

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The Holy Grail of Travel Rewards

travel hacking Dec 17, 2021

I want to give you an introduction to the most sought after travel reward out there.

It's so sought after that I've heard it called the "holy grail" of travel rewards.

What is it, you may ask?

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.

Everyone wants one, but they can be tricky to get.

In case you don't know what it is, the Southwest Companion Pass allows you to take a companion for free on as many Southwest flights as you'd like during the duration of the pass.

It's basically a free ticket anytime you fly for someone to join you.

The way you typically get the Companion Pass is by "flying 100 qualifying one-way flights or earning 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year." That's straight off the Southwest website.

If you do one of these two things, you'll earn a Companion Pass "for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it."

To most people, this seems impossible.

You'd have to fly nearly 10 times per month to hit the 100 flight...

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Your New Favorite Airline

travel hacking Nov 05, 2021

I posted a blog recently called, Your New Favorite Hotel. In that blog I talked about the difference in point values between several hotel chains.

I'd like to do the same thing for airlines.

Flying can be expensive, especially when you're taking your kids. It's really important to maximize every single point you can when it comes to airline rewards. Doing this will help you be able to travel nearly free with the whole family.

In this blog, I want to talk primarily about domestic travel.

What airline has the highest value point redemptions? Let's take a look.

Delta Airlines - worth 1.1 cents per point

  • For a $350/flight, it would require 31,819 points

United Airlines - worth 1.3 cents per point

  • For a $350/flight, it would require 26,923 points

American Airlines - worth 1.4 cents per point

  • For a $350/flight, it would require 25,000 points

Southwest Airlines - worth 1.5 cents per point

  • For a $350/flight, it would require 23,334 points

Southwest Rapid Rewards points are some of...

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Christmas in New York City

travel hacking Oct 08, 2021

When our 2 daughters were young, my wife told me that she wanted to take them to NYC for Christmas one day.

She had been with her mom & sister to NYC for Christmas & thought our girls would love the lights, the decorations, and especially the shopping!

At the time, that wouldn't have been in the budget. Plane flights for all of us + hotels + taxis + food + shopping made me think it was more than we could bite off. We were in ministry, after all.

Once I was introduced to Travel Hacking and started earning rewards points, I knew this was the first place I wanted to take the family!

Like I recommend on this blog, the first card we applied for was the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (my wife got it first — click here to see why). We applied for several other cards as well, and with the welcome bonuses from those cards, plus the spend we put on those cards, we eventually had enough points to go to NYC for 4 nights FREE (well, free travel that is — we bought some toys...

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