Today’s post is going to take a different approach than many of my previous posts.
We’re not going to talk about how to save money on travel.
There is absolutely no mention of points, miles, or credit cards (other than in this sentence).
And yet this might be the best advice I share with you this year.
I promised to help you find freedom in 2015 by expanding my focus beyond the world of saving money on travel. Today is another step to making good on that promise.
Remember that traveling is never in and of itself the goal. Traveling is only the means to accomplish other goals like escaping the grind of day-to-day life, learning self-reliance, and finally being able to unplug and relax.
Which is why today I want to talk to you about how you can get more out of traveling (and life) by doing less.
A couple weeks ago I made a very costly rookie mistake. I cancelled a credit card without thinking, and forfeited about $400 of rewards points in the process.
Here’s how it went down.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Columbus, which is pretty rare in early April.
I’m sitting in a Starbucks, trying my best to avoid looking like a hipster while sipping coffee and doing my monthly points/miles check-up.
This is a ~20 minute monthly ritual where I take stock of my open credit cards (using my awesome free spreadsheet), tally up my points for future trips, and close old credit cards that are about to be hit with annual fees.
I’ve done this dozens of times now so I have the entire process down to a science. I even copy and paste the same email scripts for closing credit cards. (I’ll share these with you in a future post).
Hi again, Travel Junkies.
Last week I introduced you to Marcus, one of my newer readers who just booked 2 flights to Paris for $185. Marcus got started by taking advantage of one of my 15-minute chats in January.
Today, I want to give you that same opportunity.
I am giving away 15 more 15-minute conversations where we can talk about whatever you like.
No sales pitch, no hassles, no BS.
Just 15 minutes of my full attention to answer any of your questions.
Here are some examples of things we can talk about:
One of the things I love to do with GFF is show you some of the amazing results that my readers have achieved with very little time and effort.
I’ve shared many of these success stories in the past, but today’s post features a particularly remarkable result achieved by one of my newer readers, Marcus.
Marcus took advantage of one of my free 15 minute conversations in January and hasn’t looked back since. In fact, he just booked a trip to take his wife to Paris later this month for $185 (more on this later).
Three months ago the idea of traveling for next to nothing was a completely foreign concept to him. Three weeks from today he will be sipping wine with his wife on the Champs-Élysées, having paid next to nothing to get there.
So I asked him to share his story by answering a few questions about his experience so far.
Take it away, Marcus.
Tell us how you got started with points and miles. When did you decide to give it a try and what was the tipping point for your decision?
On our recent spontaneous European getaway to Amsterdam, my wife and I stayed in the beautiful Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, located right along the Prinsengracht Canal in downtown Amsterdam.
This boutique, 120 room hotel was added to Hyatt’s new Andaz collection in late 2012 and still has the look and feel of a brand new hotel.
A couple weeks ago I flew to Europe for the weekend (again).
That’s right. More than 8 hours of flying, each way, just to spend a couple days exploring Holland.
I would say that the trip took a lot of thought and planning, but that would be a lie. In fact, I went from idea to itinerary in less than 30 minutes.
Here’s how it went down.
It was a cold February day in Columbus with the temperature hovering around 0 degrees. Which is beyond just “cold”. It’s “none-of-my-friends-want-to-leave-their-apartments-to-do-anything-fun” cold.
I’m sitting on my couch thinking about my weekend plans for the rest of the month. A quick glance out the window confirms that my entertainment prospects don’t look good.
So I Googled “Best European Weekend Getaways”, saw that Amsterdam was consistently on the top of everyone’s list, and booked a flight for my wife and me to go there the following weekend.
It cost about $60 in taxes and fees.
Hey Travel Junkies,
Great news, my book Takeoff: How to Travel the World for Next to Nothing is now FREE thanks to our generous advertisers.
To get the book, all you have to do is sign up for our mailing list. (If you’re a current subscriber, you will get it via email tonight.)
Takeoff contains more than 100 pages of in-depth knowledge, step-by-step overviews, and actionable strategies that will teach you how to travel more while spending less.
These methods have been tested with hundreds of my readers and are guaranteed to work for you.
Yesterday was one of the biggest first-world-problem letdown days of my life.
The day began with me booking a $20,000 first-class itinerary for $142 (which would have only been my second best booking of 2015), continued with the news that House of Cards had released their 3rd season early, and ended with both of those things being taken away from me.
I realize that these are small problems in the grand scheme of life, but I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t bummed for a couple hours yesterday.
The ridiculous flight booking was the result of what is called a “mistake fare”, which is a relatively common occurrence in the airline industry.
Mistake fares are exactly what their name implies; an airline fare that is so cheap it is obviously a mistake on the part of an airline.
Today we are going to talk about the most underrated and misunderstood method of earning points and miles there is.
A method that moves fast, is somewhat controversial, and is used by only a fraction of travel junkies world-wide.
What is this glorious, secretive method you ask?
It’s called Manufactured Spending, and it’s a game changer in the points/miles world.
Let’s take a look at how it works.
Manufactured Spending (MS) is the process of using a rewards credit card to purchase something that can easily be converted back to cash.
The goal of this process is to increase the amount of money that you spend on your rewards credit card without actually having to “spend” money out of pocket.
Let me make a quick analogy to explain how this works.
This is a 5,000+ word guide on how to become a master of all things credit and credit scoring.
Yup, you read that right. 5,000+ words.
I am not a big fan of using 5,000 words when 500 will do, but a topic this important demands a thorough write up.
First, because your credit score is a vital part of your financial health, and therefore your overall well-being.
Bad credit = more stress, more frustration, and more money needed to buy things like houses and cars. (Read: less freedom)
And secondly, because 90% of the things that you read and hear about credit scores are completely false.
Everybody thinks they understand credit scores when in truth, less than 10% of these people have any idea what they’re talking about. (10% figure based on my own experiences. Scientific accuracy be damned)
Today you become a part of that educated minority.
Over the next 5,000+ words you’ll learn everything you’ll ever need to know about credit and credit scoring.
Go ahead and bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to refer back to it a time or two.
At the very least it will help you diffuse your friend/roommate/coworker/neighbor who keeps telling you that credit cards are evil and to be avoided at all costs. (Face palm)
Ready? Let’s get started.