Ep 27. How to get EVEN MORE from your Travel Rewards Credit Card

50 Replies

Open up a credit card, earn miles, get a free plane trip or hotel room. Sounds great, right? But what if you could exponentially increase your travel rewards? Fly free every time? Never pay for a hotel room again?

Lee Huffman travels the world in luxury with his family for less than the cost of your economy vacation by using travel rewards. He’s an expert in travel rewards, credit cards, and personal finance. Today, Lee shares how you can save on your next vacation using travel rewards — and how to squeeze every drop of value out of those rewards!

Listen here or on your favorite podcast player.

this is simple  do what I do .. fly 100k miles a year domestically  on one airline... stay in one hotel chain Hilton / Marriot 45 nights a year  .. do this and stick to one airline or hotel card .. never pay for domestic airfair with points and or domestic hotels.. and use all those points for international travel..

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

this is simple  do what I do .. fly 100k miles a year domestically  on one airline... stay in one hotel chain Hilton / Marriot 45 nights a year  .. do this and stick to one airline or hotel card .. never pay for domestic airfair with points and or domestic hotels.. and use all those points for international travel..

 It's even easier.... when you learn to travel hack lol.

Example A) Southwest Rapid Rewards card, both visa signature AND the non signature card. Apply for both at same time, get them on the 60k/50k bonuses. Then you're left with w/ about 10k in points to get 120k points... and then you get companion pass. You can hit that before your first flight!

Or the book conference room at certain hotel for an hour or so... to bump up your required nights... 

I could go on and on ....

Oh and points, you can see the value plenty of places, typically united is about .02/mile. So if your flight less than that buy it, more use pts.

Originally posted by @Matt K. :
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

this is simple  do what I do .. fly 100k miles a year domestically  on one airline... stay in one hotel chain Hilton / Marriot 45 nights a year  .. do this and stick to one airline or hotel card .. never pay for domestic airfair with points and or domestic hotels.. and use all those points for international travel..

 It's even easier.... when you learn to travel hack lol.

Example A) Southwest Rapid Rewards card, both visa signature AND the non signature card. Apply for both at same time, get them on the 60k/50k bonuses. Then you're left with w/ about 10k in points to get 120k points... and then you get companion pass. You can hit that before your first flight!

Or the book conference room at certain hotel for an hour or so... to bump up your required nights... 

I could go on and on ....

Oh and points, you can see the value plenty of places, typically united is about .02/mile. So if your flight less than that buy it, more use pts.

 except southwest does not go across the pond.. and there is no first class which is my requirement for international long haul travel and well any travel really.. most of the times I get free upgrade by my status.. but 1st is usually one a few hundred more than coach and in my mind well worth it.

were it really comes in handy is tight connections like in Atlanta or DFW or ORD   were if your in the back of the bus you could take 20 minutes to deplane up front you run right off and usually can make that tight connection.

On that note, the attendants in the lounges.... they are on an entirely different level than almost all other agents. They can do things and will do things the regular agents can't/won't. Bonus points if you have status or are paying for first.

Originally posted by @Matt K. :

On that note, the attendants in the lounges.... they are on an entirely different level than almost all other agents. They can do things and will do things the regular agents can't/won't. Bonus points if you have status or are paying for first.

 I am a member of a few lounges my favorite is the Centurion club by Amex... my Alaska card gets me into all the American admirals clubs.  and the same Amex card gets me into all the Delta clubs.. and when you go business or first international you automatically get into the clubs.. the British club at heathrow is very nice.

as is the Cathey pacific in Hong Kong and Singapore all the first class food and adult beverages showers massages whatever you need or want.. plus as you state they can do things on your itinerary that others cant its worth the 325 bucks a year for me for sure.. And I think the Amex card is 450 or something like that.. but their customer service is first rate as well.. I don't know if you have to travel like I do you mine as well enjoy it..  also free very good wifi of course  clean restrooms  and well quiet place to work if you have a longer layover etc etc.  when I get to a smaller airport with no club then I just use that time to walk the halls for exercise LOL

Originally posted by @Matt K. :

On that note, the attendants in the lounges.... they are on an entirely different level than almost all other agents. They can do things and will do things the regular agents can't/won't. Bonus points if you have status or are paying for first.

"They can do things and will do things..." Sounds like you're talking about strippers in a champagne room, not attendants in a airport waiting lounge.

Next time across the pond, you might try my favorite.  

IRL, I'm a travel agent, I do group incentive travel for major corporations. I can fly on a travel agent pass if I choose.  I prefer not to.    The pilots mother-in-law gets treated better than a travel agent.

I can deal with coach to the east coast, or for the short hops around Europe, but I take La Compagnie  Newark to Paris.  I get business to first class comfort. For $2K.  

Originally posted by @Matt K. :
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

this is simple  do what I do .. fly 100k miles a year domestically  on one airline... stay in one hotel chain Hilton / Marriot 45 nights a year  .. do this and stick to one airline or hotel card .. never pay for domestic airfair with points and or domestic hotels.. and use all those points for international travel..

 It's even easier.... when you learn to travel hack lol.

Example A) Southwest Rapid Rewards card, both visa signature AND the non signature card. Apply for both at same time, get them on the 60k/50k bonuses. Then you're left with w/ about 10k in points to get 120k points... and then you get companion pass. You can hit that before your first flight!

Or the book conference room at certain hotel for an hour or so... to bump up your required nights... 

I could go on and on ....

Oh and points, you can see the value plenty of places, typically united is about .02/mile. So if your flight less than that buy it, more use pts.

 Travel hacking is the bomb.  I just got companion pass a few months back.  Round trip for my wife and I to Cancun 0 dollars.  Well 170 for taxes.

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

this is simple  do what I do .. fly 100k miles a year domestically  on one airline... stay in one hotel chain Hilton / Marriot 45 nights a year  .. do this and stick to one airline or hotel card .. never pay for domestic airfair with points and or domestic hotels.. and use all those points for international travel..

 I'm the opposite. I earn on international flights (business trips) and spend on domestic (vacation, family visits, bringing my daughter home from college etc).

But either way, I havent paid for a domestic flight in a long time.

Originally posted by @Anish Tolia :
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

this is simple  do what I do .. fly 100k miles a year domestically  on one airline... stay in one hotel chain Hilton / Marriot 45 nights a year  .. do this and stick to one airline or hotel card .. never pay for domestic airfair with points and or domestic hotels.. and use all those points for international travel..

 I'm the opposite. I earn on international flights (business trips) and spend on domestic (vacation, family visits, bringing my daughter home from college etc).

But either way, I havent paid for a domestic flight in a long time.

Well not sure about how your business works but I have to pay my own way.. so for about 1k or so I can get first class anywhere in the country.. business as you know across the pond usually starts at 4k per seat and I always travel with my wife on those trips .. my domestic I am 95% solo.. But if I stop doing much international I can probably fly the next 10 year for free on my points ( in coach :))  )   And of course I would never ever fly southwest.. I don't do NO assignment seating.. I have to have a isle seat.. I have spent to many years up front in my little bug smasher so I don't need a window seat..   And one nice thing these days is I finally figured out how to put the free movies on my lap top that took a year of trial and error LOL they had to dummy it down for me

These are amateur tips. On Spirit airlines I save on baggage charges by not taking socks then buying them at the 99 cent store in the airport in Cleveland. Get extra peanuts in Alaska airlines to avoid meal charges. Also only use one pair of underwear (worn on flight) then wash it in motel 6 sink as needed (hand soap so so save on detergent)

Million Mile Secrets and Boarding Area are a couple good websites for the travel hacking/travel rewards scene. 

I know the incentives used to be better and there were ways to gain more points. I know a lot of the airlines increased the amount of points needed especially for first class . People also used to be able to sign up for the same cards over and over and get the bonuses.

 But there are still a ton of cards with sign up bonuses, and different cards being added as well. Definitely can save people a lot on travel if done right.

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Originally posted by @Anish Tolia:
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

this is simple  do what I do .. fly 100k miles a year domestically  on one airline... stay in one hotel chain Hilton / Marriot 45 nights a year  .. do this and stick to one airline or hotel card .. never pay for domestic airfair with points and or domestic hotels.. and use all those points for international travel..

 I'm the opposite. I earn on international flights (business trips) and spend on domestic (vacation, family visits, bringing my daughter home from college etc).

But either way, I havent paid for a domestic flight in a long time.

Well not sure about how your business works but I have to pay my own way.. so for about 1k or so I can get first class anywhere in the country.. business as you know across the pond usually starts at 4k per seat and I always travel with my wife on those trips .. my domestic I am 95% solo.. But if I stop doing much international I can probably fly the next 10 year for free on my points ( in coach :))  )   And of course I would never ever fly southwest.. I don't do NO assignment seating.. I have to have a isle seat.. I have spent to many years up front in my little bug smasher so I don't need a window seat..   And one nice thing these days is I finally figured out how to put the free movies on my lap top that took a year of trial and error LOL they had to dummy it down for me

One of the few benefits of being a corporate drone :-) Biz class flight across the pond. But this year I have much fewer long hauls since Im living in Asia. And I detest domestic travel so there is no way Id create 100K miles flying in the US. That to me is the definition of the 7th level of hell!!!

Originally posted by @Anish Tolia :
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:
Originally posted by @Anish Tolia:
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

this is simple  do what I do .. fly 100k miles a year domestically  on one airline... stay in one hotel chain Hilton / Marriot 45 nights a year  .. do this and stick to one airline or hotel card .. never pay for domestic airfair with points and or domestic hotels.. and use all those points for international travel..

 I'm the opposite. I earn on international flights (business trips) and spend on domestic (vacation, family visits, bringing my daughter home from college etc).

But either way, I havent paid for a domestic flight in a long time.

Well not sure about how your business works but I have to pay my own way.. so for about 1k or so I can get first class anywhere in the country.. business as you know across the pond usually starts at 4k per seat and I always travel with my wife on those trips .. my domestic I am 95% solo.. But if I stop doing much international I can probably fly the next 10 year for free on my points ( in coach :))  )   And of course I would never ever fly southwest.. I don't do NO assignment seating.. I have to have a isle seat.. I have spent to many years up front in my little bug smasher so I don't need a window seat..   And one nice thing these days is I finally figured out how to put the free movies on my lap top that took a year of trial and error LOL they had to dummy it down for me

One of the few benefits of being a corporate drone :-) Biz class flight across the pond. But this year I have much fewer long hauls since Im living in Asia. And I detest domestic travel so there is no way Id create 100K miles flying in the US. That to me is the definition of the 7th level of hell!!!

well one day maybe I can have my own jet and not worry about all this stuff.. might try the jet smarter app once I get settled in Vegas..and see how that goes. 

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Originally posted by @Anish Tolia:
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:
Originally posted by @Anish Tolia:
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

this is simple  do what I do .. fly 100k miles a year domestically  on one airline... stay in one hotel chain Hilton / Marriot 45 nights a year  .. do this and stick to one airline or hotel card .. never pay for domestic airfair with points and or domestic hotels.. and use all those points for international travel..

 I'm the opposite. I earn on international flights (business trips) and spend on domestic (vacation, family visits, bringing my daughter home from college etc).

But either way, I havent paid for a domestic flight in a long time.

Well not sure about how your business works but I have to pay my own way.. so for about 1k or so I can get first class anywhere in the country.. business as you know across the pond usually starts at 4k per seat and I always travel with my wife on those trips .. my domestic I am 95% solo.. But if I stop doing much international I can probably fly the next 10 year for free on my points ( in coach :))  )   And of course I would never ever fly southwest.. I don't do NO assignment seating.. I have to have a isle seat.. I have spent to many years up front in my little bug smasher so I don't need a window seat..   And one nice thing these days is I finally figured out how to put the free movies on my lap top that took a year of trial and error LOL they had to dummy it down for me

One of the few benefits of being a corporate drone :-) Biz class flight across the pond. But this year I have much fewer long hauls since Im living in Asia. And I detest domestic travel so there is no way Id create 100K miles flying in the US. That to me is the definition of the 7th level of hell!!!

well one day maybe I can have my own jet and not worry about all this stuff.. might try the jet smarter app once I get settled in Vegas..and see how that goes. 

 Maybe you can pick up ocean pointes from auction in the future...

Best travel hack ever was a number of years ago...

Get an American, Delta, United, etc. credit card.  $5K min limit.
Go to AAA auto club (be a member) and purchase travelers checks to the tune of ...$5K. 

Walk over to your bank, and deposit said travelers checks.

Pay credit card bill.

Rinse and repeat, weekly.  20K miles per airline per week. 

I think AAA quit doing free travelers checks on any credit card but their own now.

This post has been removed.

Originally posted by @Terre B. :

Best travel hack ever was a number of years ago...

Get an American, Delta, United, etc. credit card.  $5K min limit.
Go to AAA auto club (be a member) and purchase travelers checks to the tune of ...$5K. 

Walk over to your bank, and deposit said travelers checks.

Pay credit card bill.

Rinse and repeat, weekly.  20K miles per airline per week. 

I think AAA quit doing free travelers checks on any credit card but their own now.

 ahh the good old days of manufactured spend... 

The Marriott rewards premier visa is a good one. You get 100,000 points and anniversary stays. I had this card and I got about 5 stays at hotels. But I only got 60,000 points when I signed up. If you use this card for regular purchases with your real estate you could get lots of free stays.

@Terre B.

I remember reading about one using the US mint I imagine some collected millions of miles that way

Story about a guy that racked up 4 million miles this way

https://www.aol.com/2013/02/28/credit-card-reward-points-airline-miles-free/

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