11 Ways to Save Money on Hotels [101 Travel Tips]

One of the most important things about traveling is finding cost effective travel accommodation or hotels (next to finding cheap flight tickets). Travel accommodation can get very expensive quick, especially if you’re booking hotels.

This is part of my series 101 Travel Tips & Hacks to help you travel more for less.

Below, I’ll show you exactly how I find the best deals to lower your costs on travel accommodation and hotels.

(my 4 star hotel in Kuala Lumpur under construction but $30/night)

I’m going to start with hotels. Although hotels aren’t usually cheap, it’s certainly a standard of choice for most travelers as it offers comfort and amenities travelers tend to look for.

Hotel prices vary widely in different cities and in different seasons. I’ve seen hotels shoot up prices 50-100% due to large events.

But I’ve also seen hotels cut their prices by over 60% due to remodeling or construction.

1. Gauge Hotel Costs before Your Trip

Always try get an idea of how much hotels cost in the area and during your travel dates before you book your flight, especially if you’re flexible with travel dates. Special events may cause hotel prices to soar over 500% like what happened with the 2017 Solar Eclipse event.

Hotels that normally cost less than $100 jumped to over $500/night that week! That’s an extreme example but I’ve seen prices jump 100-200% easily due to other large events or conferences.

If possible, you want to avoid any dates with really expensive rates. This is easily do-able by doing a really quick search before you book anything else.

I usually start with Priceline or just Google hotels in the location you’re traveling to get a gauge of approximate prices of hotels.

(Google’s nice quick, hotel search)

If all looks fine, then you can proceed to find the best deal!

2. Try an Express Deal

Priceline’s Express Deals are quite awesome actually. Although they won’t tell you exactly which hotel you’ll get until you book, you can still know the guest rating, amenities, general location, and even bed choice before you book.

You can also bid on hotels but I normally stay away from bidding since you’re unable to control a number of factors such as the ones listed above.

And for hotels, things like bed choice, free parking, location, etc. are all really important to make your travels as smooth as possible.

Hotels.com, Booking.com, and almost every website has their own unique “special deals.” The thing I’ve found about hotels is it really varies a lot in price and varies across different platforms.

I wouldn’t be overly concerned with finding the best possible price, honestly. If you find a good hotel with good user ratings at a price you feel good about, I’d say save the time and just go with it.

Also, a lot of hotels these days have pretty flexible cancellation policies. If you’re able to find one with a good cancellation policy up to a few days before your actual travel date, book it! You can always cancel later if you do end up finding a better deal.

3. Find a Modest Hotel with High Customer Reviews

If you are budget conscious, 3.5 star hotels is usually the highest you should go. A lot of 4+ star hotels have a lot of extra costs such as parking fees, resort fees, maintenance fees, etc. Since the fees are per day, those expenses can really add up quick if you’re paying $30-100 extra per night.

The upside to expensive hotels is the opportunity to potentially network with other guests. Or if you’re using points or your anniversary free night, it wouldn’t hurt to try a super expensive hotel!

But normally if you’re on a budget, 3.5 stars is the highest you should go.

The most important thing is always looking at Customer Reviews as it gives you the best picture of what the hotel is actually like.

There are a ton of 4-5 star expensive hotels that got average reviews from Customers. And then there are a lot of 2-3 star inexpensive hotels that got stellar reviews from customers.

Almost every hotel booking site will have actual customer ratings. Anything below 7 (out of 10), I would not consider booking. 8-10 is what I would stick with.

Although this may sound like common sense, it actually took me a lot of bad experiences to learn this myself… that customer ratings are extremely important to find a comfortable, clean, and safe stay.

4. Be Keen on Hotel Location

Always take into account the location of the hotel. Particularly overseas, some locations that are hard to get to will add significant costs if you need to take a cab there.

I’ve stayed at hotels where it was over 30 minutes drive away from where I needed to be. While it may save you some money, the hassle may not be worth your time.

This is even more important when traveling internationally.

One time in Rome, I stayed about 30 minutes away from the City Centre. When I was done exploring, it was already dark so I had to take the first cab I could find. I ended up paying 40 euros for the ride and then getting scammed twice when he dropped one of my bills and demanded I didn’t pay enough. That cab ride alone was more expensive than the hotel I booked.

I generally try and find hotel within 30 minutes of where I’ll mostly be. Anything beyond that, you want to avoid if possible.

5. Check Hotel Amenities

Hotel Amenities actually make a big difference. If you normally eat breakfast, a free breakfast saves you money and hassle.

Free parking saves money as opposed to paying up to $20/day.

Gyms (if you want to get some exercise in each day) will save you money.

Free wifi will save you money as opposed to paying for it.

Pictured: Free & Included Breakfast buffet in Hanoi. Breakfast buffets are very common in Asia.

On the flip side of Hotel Amenities, know that there are also amenities that may not be cost effective.

Laundry Service, for example, is usually NOT cost effective unless there is a self-service coin laundry at the hotel. It’s a lot cheaper to get your clothes washed and dried at a nearby coin laundry.

Valet Service is normally NOT free and can cost quite a bit if you factor in gratuity.

On Hotel Aggregators, they’ll often give you a quick bird-eye view of what’s included with your stay. Be sure to pay attention to it!

6. Book a Flight+Hotel Package

If you’re looking to travel somewhere and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of booking flights, hotels, and transportation separately, deal packages are actually great deals!

This is especially true if you don’t have a large inventory of points and if you absolutely want to stay at a hotel (instead of an Airbnb).

Usually deal packages will provide high rating hotels at a discounted price and booking your flight with it will save you money than if you were to book separately.

Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Travel Pirates are all good options to find excellent deals for flight + hotel combos.

The only thing you usually want to be careful of is be weary of flight schedules and times. A lot of times, the cheapest option will have bad flight times with either long layovers or red-eye flights.

And if you want a better flight option, often there will be additional charges.

As always, be sure to also just double check hotel reviews before you book.

This is just an easier, less complicated way to book your travels while saving you a bit of money. Though it may not always be an option (particularly if you’re looking to book multi-city itineraries or if you only hotels on certain dates). It’s a good option, however, for a simple vacation.

7. Use Credit Card Points

Credit Card points also have awesome redemption value for hotels. SPG, Hilton, IHG, & Marriott are just a few hotels you can transfer Credit Card points to redeem for hotel night stays. The more luxurious and costly the hotel, the more likely your points value will go up.

If you sign up initially for a Credit Card specifically for a hotel, you’ll usually get a pretty generous bonus that can get you up to 5 nights for free once you reach a minimum spend for 3 months.

Although there’s usually an annual fee attached, a number of Hotel Credit Cards have something called a free anniversary night where you get a free night at one of their hotels each year.

That easily makes up for the annual fee if you plan on staying at a hotel just one night out of the year! And even if for some reason, you don’t travel at all, you can always do a mini staycation close to home.

Hotel Credit Card Points are great for anytime use. It’s not as effective for emergency use (as with airline points) since availability often is somewhat limited.

However, you can get some incredible rates with points.

I’ve stayed in hotels for virtually free on several occasions. Here’s an example on my really cheap travel accommodation in San Antonio at a SPG hotel for just 7,000 points!

Okay, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to get off the topic of hotels… There’s just so much to cover just for finding great deals on accommodation with hotels.

For those looking to find alternatives to hotels,

8. Try Airbnb

I’ve stayed in plenty of Airbnbs and they’ve all been very pleasant. Considering you can check reviews, it’s easier these days to find a great host at an excellent price. Often, you’ll also get a more “local” experience over staying at a hotel.

Pictured is a private room I booked near NYC for $25 a night. You can read more about my trip to NYC here.

Similar strategies apply to Airbnb as hotels actually. Although you may not be looking for amenities, you should still check parking availability, location, any clean-up fees, etc.

I find that a lot of Airbnbs also have decent cancellation policies that are laid out before you book.

The important thing is to check reviews from other travelers to get a better idea of what the place is like.

9. Consider a Hostel

Staying in a hostel is one of the cheapest ways you can travel. Though you’ll likely be sharing rooms with other people, you’ll inevitably meet a lot of strangers along the way. But that’s part of the fun of traveling! Just do your due diligence in checking reviews and use reliable sources like www.hostelworld.com

In Europe, I met a lot of other travelers in hostels. They also became great business connections that I have now from all over the world.

10. Consider a Work Away

If you’re planning to travel more long-term and want to get free accommodations, you can consider a work away where you volunteer to help with various tasks (e.g. teaching English, helping with chores) to get free accommodations wherever you’re traveling to.

Considering accommodations are usually around $40-50/day you can easily save over $1000/month this way. Again, just do your due diligence and use reliable sources like www.workaway.info

11. Stay a Night at the Airport

This sounds a bit insane but if you’ve never slept at an airport, you need to try it just once. You can donate the $80 you save to me! But really, sleeping at airports is awesome. Though not the most comfortable, it’s quite adventurous and you’ll be able to relate better to almost every traveler out there.

Note I would NOT recommend doing it more than two days in a row. I’ve stayed overnight at airports around the world including in Tel Aviv, London, Bangkok, Singapore, and more.

Picture is a photo of my sister sleeping at Denver Airport from our trip to Yellowstone National Park.

There you have it, some of the tops ways I’ve used to book cheap travel accommodation.

What about you? What cheap travel accommodation tips do you have to find the best deals and save money?

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10 Ways to Save Money On Your Next Flight [Travel Tips]

10 Ways to Save Money On Your Next Flight [Travel Tips]

Having booked over 100+ trips in the last 7 years out of my own pocket, I know how important it is to be able to find and book cheap flights anywhere.

This is part of my series 101 Travel Tips & Hacks to help you travel cheap and save money.

Here, I show you my best methods to finding the cheapest airfare tickets anywhere.

1. Gauge Flight Costs:

I always start with Google Flights just to get an idea of how much flights are on certain dates. I like Google flights because you can easily adjust dates & locations and it aggregates the best prices from all the different airlines (with the exception of a few like Southwest).

When flying or traveling, the best way to getting cheap flights can be summed in one word: flexibility.

The more flexible you are, the more likely you’ll be able to find cheap flights.

A more advanced tool is the engine that powers Google Flights. The ITA Matrix Software has more features such as finding out fuel surcharges. This is particularly useful if you’re booking flights with points. An example is if you were to book British Airways, their fuel surcharges are usually insane! In fact, a lawsuit was won recently against BA for their notorious outrageous fuel surcharges.

2. Try Using Points:

The two hands down best usage of Points are: Traveling on Premium class cabins (Business or First class) or booking emergency flights. But in general, you can still save your cash by just using points even if not for the two reasons above.

Redemption value for Premium class cabins are significantly better with points. I would’ve never been able to (justifiably) fly Business Class if it weren’t for the use of points.

Generally, last minute tickets get extremely expensive. With points, the redemption usually remains the same which means it’ll save you a lot of money if you can use your points instead of cash.

Points can easily get complicated and if you’re not an avid points follower, here are some general guidelines:

  1. There are 2 main ways to acquire points. By the actual miles you fly on the air or points you acquire from Credit Cards. The latter is usually the easier way to collect enough points for redemption unless you just fly a lot.
  2. There are many different valuations for points but I’d say generally if you’re able to save $100 using 10,000 points, that’s usually a decent deal. Take it with a grain of salt as valuations do vary but it’s a good starting point.
  3. Credit Cards offer large bonuses these days that are basically enough for a flight just with the initial sign-up bonus. To me, it’s a great deal. But with it comes some things you should know about Credit Cards. NerdWallet came out with a really great article on 11 things to know about credit. In short, I think Credit Card bonuses are totally worth getting.

Quite frankly, points can take a lot more time to really understand. The last thing you want to do is use your points through the Credit Card’s points or award travel portal as the redemption rates is usually pretty bad.

The hard part is figuring out the most cost efficient way to use it. I’ve followed the points guy for years before finally having a better understanding of the entire system. Another resource that has a lot of great info on points and travel is Upgrade Points.

However, points have taken me far and saved me a tremendous amount of money. They are particularly useful for international flights that can cost well over $1,000. I’ve easily saved over tens of thousands of dollars using points.

3. Use Deal Sites:

Sometimes Google Flights may not offer the lowest price tickets. As such, you’ll want to check other deal sites (like Orbitz or Skyscanner, or Cheap-O-Air) as sometimes deal sites will be cheaper. I’ve also used Momondo.com.

Note* I would just be careful of shady deal sites (I’ve found some shady 3rd-party sites even recommended on Momondo actually). Always do a quick google search on consumer reports if you find a deal “too good to be true”. Whatever hassle you have to face with bad sites is not worth the money you save.

Also, note that Google Flights does not aggregate every airline. In fact, there are a number of airlines and flights that aren’t covered by Google. Southwest Airlines, Ryanair, Norwegian, Vueling, and EasyJet are some of the airlines not covered.

4. Book a Flight + Hotel Package

If you need a hotel with your stay, these days there are lots of great flight + hotel packages you can find on Orbitz, Priceline, Expedia, Travel Pirates, etc.

And yes, they are actually quite good deals! This is particularly useful if you don’t want to go through the trouble of finding accommodation and flights separately.

Is it the cheapest option? Probably not. Since these days, there’s Airbnb, several hotel credit card options, and even deal sites for hotels.

But it does save you money and is cheaper than booking those flights and hotels separately. It’s also a hassle-free way to book your trip.

The only thing to note is flights offered for those deals often may not have the best flight times. Or the airlines they selected may have certain baggage policies. Just be weary of the possible pitfalls of certain budget airlines that I talk about more below.

 

5. Search Nearby Airports:

If you know how to search nearby airports, you can find cheap flights and save a lot of money as well. The below shows a flight from Dallas to San Jose. The cheapest flight on Google is $486 but if I just flew to Oakland Airport or even San Francisco Airport on those exact dates, I can save almost $300.

Google Flights actually helps identify nearby airports sometimes but not always…

Oakland Airport is only about a 30 minute drive from San Francisco Airport. And San Francisco Airport is only about a 1 hour drive from San Jose Airport.

It gets a lot trickier internationally and is NOT recommended for families with kids. A lot of times the layover may not be worth the hassle, but I’ve personally saved thousands of dollars flying to a different country first before my final destination. And it’s fun to visit 2 countries instead of 1!

Search nearby airports at both your starting and ending destination. This may take some time and experience but it’s definitely worth it if you find a great deal.

5. Try a Budget Airline:

I’m actually a huge fan of budget airlines as they can save you a lot of money but only if you know how to navigate through their baggage policies.

Budget Airlines in Asia is almost on a different level than Budget Airlines in the U.S. Scoot & Asia Air have been tremendous experiences even with their strict policies and have saved me hundreds of dollars from the major carriers.

Below is an example of a budget airline that is over $100 less than the next cheapest flight.

Again, the key is just knowing how to travel with budget airlines.

Generally, the easiest way to not have to deal with any possible hassles is to only bring a backpack. The next best option is paying for your bag online. You just never want to risk paying for your bags at the airport.

More recently, major airlines have even adopted low-cost seats. It’s usually called basic economy or economy saver. American Airlines, United, and a number of major airlines have followed suit.

6. Be Careful of Airline Policies:

As mentioned, there are caveats to using budget airlines to find cheap flights. The main thing is to be acquainted with baggage policies (e.g. budget airlines like Spirit & Frontier and even budget seats like United’s Basic Explorer or American Airlines basic economy have extremely strict limitations on free baggage).

If you’re traveling with any baggage that you need to check-in, expect to add around $30 for the first bag. If you need another bag, the baggage fees goes up even more.

7. Use a Private VPN for International Bookings:

This is particularly useful if you’re traveling overseas. A lot of times, airlines will offer lower prices for local travelers than if your IP address is from the U.S.

This is why a lot of times people who live locally at a country you’re visiting can find better deals than you can if you’re living in the U.S.

8. Take Advantage of Stopovers:

This technique is slightly more advanced and best for international travel but if you just keep in mind that a lot of airlines offer free or low-priced stopovers, you can look into how you can fly to another destination for almost free.

9. Travel Subscription Plans

If you’re able to travel spontaneously, there’s also been a few subscription sites that have gotten popular really quickly because they scour the web to find really cheap deals!

Sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights or Dollar Flight Club has a dedicated team that searches the web for the cheapest deals and send it to your email inbox.  There’s a free subscription plan and a paid plan where you get all the deals every week. Millions of people have already subscribed so you know they must be doing something right!

10. Use a Special Travel Agent

Last, but not least, use a special travel agent. Note* the special makes it different from just another travel agent.

I’ve used travel agents in the past. The one downside I had with them was just not getting really spectacular deals. And I think perhaps because there are certain limitations of an agent (certain vendors, less flexibility, more hoops they have to jump through to book your tickets).

I find sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights and Dollar Flight Club different in that they don’t book tickets for you. They just find deals and send links for you to book yourself.

However, what they do well with deals, they lack in personalization. They send great deals to mass people but aren’t able to zoom in on individual needs.

That’s where a Special Travel Agent comes in. Basically someone who’s like the travel concierge service you would get with an American Express Platinum ($450 annual fee) or Black Card ($2500 annual fee).

Fortunately, these days you don’t need a $500 card to get that kind of service. Travel the World Box offers that service and on top of it, sends you useful gear every month starting at $20/month.

 

What are some of your techniques for finding cheap flights and great deals? I’d love to hear them.

If you found this article to be helpful, here are some other ways to travel for cheap:

101 Travel Hacks & Ways to Save Money and Travel Well, for Less

How To Travel Round the World For Cheap

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How To Travel Round the World For Cheap [Travel Cheap]

How To Travel Round the World For Cheap [Travel Cheap]

(first half of my RTW Trip on Star Alliance)

At the beginning of 2017, I traveled round the world. I visited 12 countries on my bucket-list. I met countless amazing people, experienced Business Class seats on 12 flights, enjoyed over twenty lounges at various airports, got to see cultures I have never seen, taste food that I have never tried, and best of all – I got to experience something I’ll never forget. 

A lot of people who travel round the world do it for an extended time and often leave behind or drastically change their careers, lifestyle, and home. Hats off to those who can take such a big leap of adventure! But if you’re like me, such a big change was just not realistic.

So I decided to take my own leap of adventure…and travel around the world without changing my life, using much of my savings, or quitting my job. I used a number of the 101 Travel Hacks I posted here

And I had an unforgettable experience.

Here is how I did it:

Flights: Round the World on Business Class Seats

For flights, I used points. 240,000 points transferred to Singapore Air for the round the world trip on Business class.

How did I accumulate 240,000 points? I really didn’t change any of my lifestyle or spending. And I accumulated those points in about 1 year.

I signed up for three credit cards that gave me generous bonuses –

Chase Business Preferred Card – 80,000 bonus

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – 100,000 bonus

AMEX Gold – 50,000 points

(each card also gave me not only points but 2X or 3X points on certain categories such as gas, travel, restaurants).

I had to plan my spending a bit more carefully (directing all my bills onto one card when I was trying to get the bonus) but just spending a little over $1000 on my card each month was more than enough to cover the minimum amount I needed to spend every 3 months to get the bonuses.

I chose Singapore Air because they had one of the best redemption rates for business class and their customer service was excellent.

Accommodations:

(photo of my $35/night hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

To travel round the world relatively inexpensively, I had to save on accommodations. I mostly just paid for hotels in Asia where it was around $30 USD/night for a nice 4 star hotel.

In Europe, I stayed in hostels for about the same price. And in certain countries, I found friends & family to stay with as well.

I used Priceline.com and hotels.com to find the best deals for excellent rating accommodations and made sure to read reviews of every place I stayed at.

On a few occasions, I didn’t mind just staying in the lounge and airport at night. I showered, ate, and slept at the airport in Singapore, London, and Israel.

Admittedly, it wasn’t the most comfortable staying at an airport but it was actually kind of fun! You don’t end up sleeping much but it feels like an overnight lock-in adventure.

If I could have done it any differently, I would have spent more time accumulating hotel points (on SPG, Hilton, Marriott, etc.) and it definitely would have been a lot cheaper for accommodations splitting with 1-2 other people.

Everything Else:

(the complimentary breakfast at my $30/night hotel in Hanoi)

All my other expenses consisted of food, basic necessities, some local transportation, and entertainment (which included admissions to museums, experiences, etc.).

Since much of my travels were in Asia, all of those expenses were very low (meals averaged around $3, transportation was a few dollars, and experiences were very cheap also).

When I got to Europe, everything became a lot more expensive but I still managed to eat mostly from simple groceries I bought. I also rarely took transportation (only trains for long distance travel) and chose to walk as much as I could.

Quite honestly though, I didn’t sweat the details and wasn’t particularly trying to travel cheap or stretch every dollar since it felt more like a vacation. At the end of the trip, I spent less than $3,000 + 240,000 points for the entire one month trip around the world.

This included the airline fees & taxes you’ll need to pay for your round the world ticket.

Here are some (brief) highlights from the trip…

I got to visit over 20 business lounges across the world and 12 business class flights.

(The new Royal Laurel Business class on Eva Airlines)


(Eva lounge at LAX airport)

My first stop, Taipei. I got to spend almost a week along the beautiful shores of Northern Taipei in Taiwan.

Then I visited Hanoi, Vietnam – home of the UNESCO world heritage site – Halong Bay and went to the caverns.

I stopped by Bangkok, Thailand for coconuts and some incredible food.


After that, I toured the beautiful and culturally rich Singapore.


Then I visited Batu Caves and tasted extremely flavorful cuisine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


From Asia, I traveled West and visited the finest lounge I’ve ever seen in Istanbul, Turkey.

I experienced the incredibly rich history and beautiful architecture in Rome.


After, I met awesome entrepreneurs who brought me into the largest home & decor show in the world in Frankfurt, Germany.

I toured the beautiful and historically-rich Tel Aviv, Israel.


Then I went around London on a double decker bus and had the best scones.


I saw the beautiful island shores of Guernsey while visiting family…

My last stop, I explored Toronto, Canada and visited a few more lounges.

Before finally taking my last flight back home to Dallas.

(2nd Half of my RTW Trip on Star Alliance)

I traveled to my heart’s content and saw the world.

There were many stories I didn’t include in here and so many incredible people I met I did not mention.

Indeed, traveling opens your horizons to a whole new world outside of your own. And the world really is far more different than I could have ever imagined.

The best part was getting to experience all of this without having to drastically change my lifestyle at home and only using just a bit of my savings to travel round the world. 

Why is traveling round the world part-time (and short-term) better in my opinion? Because after having traveled for about 6 years for work, the one thing I’ve realized about travel is –

As far as you can go, as much as you get to experience, as different as you see how the world is- one thing that still remains constant across every culture and place is having somewhere you can call home.  

For some home can be wherever life takes them, but for me, home is here in Dallas, TX.

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5 Essential Travel Gear You Need [101 Travel Tips]

5 Essential Travel Gear You Need [101 Travel Tips]

A common question people ask is what travel gear they should bring for their trip. Quite honestly, there’s hundreds of items you can potentially bring. It just all boils down to what you want to do abroad. Do you want to take photos? Blog? Go on off the beaten path adventures?

I believe traveling should be done as efficiently as possible. That way, you there’s more flexibility and less risk of losing valuable items. And that can only happen if you understand what you really need.

The things you need that can be purchased for a reasonable cost (e.g. certain toiletries, snacks, etc) anywhere should be omitted from your packing list.

I believe everyone has their own preference and personal needs. But here are the top 5 travel gear, I believe are most important to have.

1. Cell Phone

Ensuring I have enough coverage and data to get me through all my travels.
My cell phone is the brains of my travel ventures. I store all my confirmations & information I need in it. It helps me navigate where I need to go (which is vital). I use it as a camera so I don’t have to bring a camera. I even keep a number of credit cards and cash with the cell phone cover I have.

It essence, if I lost my cell phone I would be in trouble. This has its pros and cons. The less vital items you have, the more you’ll protect it with your life and constantly use/check it. When traveling, any additional number of “vital” items (e.g. a wallet) is just another liability that you need to keep track of and when traveling, it is incredibly easy to lose track of a number of items you’re carrying.

Now if I actually lost my cell phone, I have a backup plan also (I keep a spare card and cash in my backpack along with my laptop I can use to get help). But my cell phone is by far the most used item whenever I travel as I have all my documents stored in it, it is my navigating tool, I use Google search to find out whatever I need, and I use it to record memories.

2. Laptop

The only other tool that is almost as vital as my cell phone is my laptop. For me, this is more of a personal preference and is important so I can stay productive and continue to get work done while I travel. It’s the only function a cell phone cannot do – getting work done efficiently.

3. Uniqlo Jacket (two inside pockets, 2 outside zipper pockets).

https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/men-pocketable-parka-179815.html?dwvar_179815_color=COL02&cgid=

This is my “mobile carrier” that keeps all my vital tools safe while also keeping me comfortable as well. When traveling, one of the most important things is to wear something that is not only comfortable in all types of weather, but have an apparel that will keep all your vital tools close to you and safe. It took me a long time to find something that met all the criteria. The best thing about the Uniqlo light jacket is it serves exactly what is said above and it’s less than $40.

I’ve used the Uniqlo jacket in very cold conditions (though it won’t be warm enough for freezing conditions), in hot climates, in rainy weather, and it’s comfortable both indoor and outdoor.

It has two outer zipper pockets that are important to prevent vital tools (my cell phone, keys) from falling out. The jacket has two inner pockets to keep other items I may need within quick reach (boarding pass, any documents I do need).

It is really the perfect jacket at least from my personal experience. I love it so much that I own 3 of them!

4. A Great Backpack

I personally use a high sierra elite backpack with an easy laptop pocket, 3 additional larger pockets, and several small pockets. Again, function and ability to protect your items is really important.

The other thing to consider in investing in a good backpack is how large of a backpack you want to get. And it all depends on your need (someone traveling on remote trips needing lots of camping items vs someone traveling for work who needs more tech gadgets will look very different).

There’s a ton of great backpacks out there. Just make sure to find one that will suit your needs.

Quite honestly, that’s all the tools I really heavily depend on when I travel. Everything else can really be replaced relatively easily (clothing, food, other gadgets, documents, etc). This of course is aside from things like passport or IDs.

5. Roaming Data / International Coverage

As mentioned above, my cell phone is my lifeline. I use it to get around, to store all my important information, take photos/videos, and communicate with people I need to contact. This really just saves a ton of clutter and makes things a lot more efficient and organized so you won’t have to worry about another piece of document while traveling.

That being said, if you’re depending on your phone for information, you don’t want to get nailed with roaming charges that can rack up extremely quickly.

The easy fix to this is just using T-mobile’s coverage which gives free roaming data (with however much data you pay for in the U.S.) in over 900 countries. It also includes free texting and a very reasonable rate for international calls if you need it. Yes, sometimes you’re going to need to call internationally (particularly if you get lost).

With these 5 essential tools, I really believe you’ll not only be able to survive any condition or challenge you may run into when you travel but you’ll really get to worry less and soak in more of what each destination has to offer.

 

What are some travel gear you would recommend for traveling?

If you enjoyed this post, you may find some of these other articles helpful:

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points

How To Travel Round the World For Cheap

101 Travel Hacks & Ways to Save Money and Travel Well, for Less

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How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points [101 Travel Tips]

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points [101 Travel Tips]

Travel & Credit Card points is a very complex thing that has taken me years to somewhat understand how it all works. Every airline, hotel, and credit card have different policies and ways you can use those points.

This is a 2-part series where I talk about travel and credit card points and how it can help you travel for cheap.

In this post, I discuss in-depth how to earn a lot of credit card points.

I’d like to first point out first that Airline Miles and Credit Card Miles are very different. 

Airline Miles

Airline miles are accumulated normally through the actual miles you’re in the air. They are hard to collect unless you fly a lot. Here’s an example just give you an idea of how many miles you need to redeem a free flight. I recently flew Japan airlines 3 round trips before I had enough miles with JAL to fly one way from Asia to America. And note that I had to fly the same airline to accumulate those miles.

Most of the time even if you fly a few times a year, you will likely find better deals on other airlines.

Credit Card Miles

Credit card miles is what is being discussed in this article since it’s a lot more reasonable to attain. With bonuses, you can secure an award ticket normally a lot quicker than you think.

First, I think it’s important to note that collecting miles should never be your primary focus.

In other words, you should never consider buying a new gadget so you can collect more miles for your trip. Your cash is still worth so much more than whatever your miles can ever redeem for. And you don’t want to make the grave mistake of overspending to collect points. Frugal living and saving will still save you more than any mileage redemption can offer.

Having said that, here is how you collect a ton of miles very quickly with what I call, intentional spending.

Intentional spending just takes some research and understanding of how credit card bonuses work. If you combine it with an understanding of your own regular spending habits, you’ll be on your way to some amazing rewards. Let me break it down further for you.

How credit cards points (specifically bonuses work):

In less than 3 years, I spent over half a million dollars in paid credit card expenses on my companies. However, those miles I earned from spending still could not compare to the credit card points I earned from bonuses.

Here are two more recent examples,

1) With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, it was offering a whopping 100,000 Chase miles. The spending requirement was $4,000 or more in the first 3 months.

I would have had to spend close to $100,000 to have gained the amount of miles the bonus was offering. Instead, I spent a little over $4500 (with the $450 credit card fee).

That deal was an incredible deal that unfortunately you cannot get anymore. However, a similar deal will still get you 50,000 miles. Though it’s a only fraction of the deal I got, it still is an incredible offer.

2) If you own a business, you can get the Chase Business Preferred card offering 80,000 miles with a minimum spend of $5,000 or more in the first 3 months.

Admittedly, getting these bonuses couldn’t happen “naturally” in my regular spending. But in just being intentional in my regular spending, it was manageable. Sure, I had to make a few adjustments. But it was well worth the sacrifice. 

So where do you start?

Here is one way I would approach it:

Note that Credit Cards do have a limit on how many you can open within two years, depending on your Credit Score.

In general, Chase miles and AMEX miles have the most flexibility in terms of what you can spend points on. You can transfer to airlines if you want to save on flights. You can transfer to hotels if you want to use the points to book hotel nights. Or you can also use points for car rentals.

Generally, product or gift items have the worst transfer value so you want to avoid using points to pay for product. But if you needed the cash, of course you can also use those points to get cash back. 

That being said, I would start with the Chase Card. The Chase Sapphire and Reserve card will get you over 100,000 points alone. These points can be transferred to several airline partners including Southwest, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, United, and more. It would be pretty easy to get the bonuses if you plan your spending in 6 months or less.

If you have a business, you can also qualify for the Chase Business Preferred Card. The card will get you 80,000 points alone.

AMEX points are also very valuable and can be transferred to a number of airline partners.

If you were to get all three Chase Cards and both AMEX Cards, the bonus points alone would be over 300,000 points.

After the Chase & AMEX cards, there are literally dozens of other cards you can get with awesome bonus mileage. 

Some cards are more limited in what the bonus miles can be used for. But you’ll begin to learn what perks you get with each bonus and how to maximize the value you get from it.

I don’t consider myself a high spender but in less than a year, I’ve obtained the following bonuses:

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card – 80,000
Chase Reserve Card – 100,000
United Explorer Card – 70,000
AMEX Starwood Card – 40,000
AAdvantage Mastercard – 60,000

With the miles I get from spending and bonus categories, I’ll easily hit 250,000 miles this year. If you want to know what you can do with 250,000 miles, you can visit the article I wrote on 5 awesome ways to use 250,000 miles here.

For a list of Credit Cards and its bonus offerings, you can visit – http://milecards.com/1031/top-bonus-mile-offers-with-credit-cards/

Don’t forget on top of the initial bonuses, there’s so much more opportunity to earn points just through regular spending.

What are some ways you have collected a lot of credit card points? Share with us below!

The next part of the series discusses ways you can use a lot of the credit points you earn!

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5 Best Things to do at an Airline Lounge [101 Travel Tips]

 5 Best Things to do at an Airline Lounge [101 Travel Tips]

Going to a business airline lounge at an airport is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of travel.

Here are some of the best things I’ve found you can do at most lounges around the world.

How do you get access to a lounge? Here are the most common methods: – If you fly business class, your business class ticket will automatically give you access to a lounge.

– If you have a priority pass membership (that can be purchased at www.prioritypass.com) or comes with certain credit cards (The AMEX Platinum card or the VISA sapphire reserve card), you’ll have access to over 1,000 lounges around the world.

– If you have airline status from flying a lot, you’ll have access to their alliance lounge (e.g. For American Airlines status, you get access to One World Alliance lounges, For United Status, you get access to Star Alliance lounges, etc).

– If you don’t have any of the above, you can also purchase lounge passes usually at most lounges anywhere from $30-50.

Without further adieu, here are the best things I’ve found to do at a lounge:

 

1. Take a shower

One of the underrated pleasures I realize I had always taken for granted was a hot shower. When you travel, the simplest daily needs all of a sudden become a luxury because you no longer have what you normally use everyday at home. On one hand, it makes you realize how privileged we are to sleep in a comfortable bed and to be able to shower everyday. But especially when you’ve been on an airplane all day or have been away from home for some time, a hot shower is the first thing I take advantage of if available at the lounge.

2. Try the food

Most airline lounges will always have a buffet style of food or light refreshments. Not all lounges are equal. Generally from my experience, the ones in Asia do better on food because people in Asia are big on food.

Moreover, the airline lounge will try and provide local cuisine or tastes to try so it’s a good opportunity to sample some of the local tastes. And while some people may be worried about eating too much before a flight, if you’re flying Business class, the restrooms are actually quite pleasant to use. So I say, “Don’t fret too much about it!”

3. Bring some refreshments for the “road”

It is perfectly fine to take some refreshments with you before you get on your flight. That way you won’t be paying $5 for a bag of chips at the airport or on the plane. Be sure to bring some drinks too if you tend to get thirsty. While airplanes will provide drinks and refreshments onboard, sometimes it just isn’t quite what you’re craving. Lounges are a good place to stock up on snacks that might make your flight a little more pleasant.

4. Take a Nap

Airline lounges are really an oasis from the hustle and bustle of traveling. This is because you won’t have to be concerned over lost luggage or missed flights. Most of the time, lounges will have a pretty safe place to store your luggage. Although it is usually still a good idea to take precautions with a lock. You can also request to have your boarding call reminded or have an agent call for you.

This is especially helpful if you are using a designated nap room if they have one. Rooms, even for a few hours, are usually very expensive at airports or nearby. So this is definitely a very valuable benefit to use from an airline lounge.

5. Do some work

You can be sure airline lounges are catered to the business traveler who needs to work on the road. You’re sure to find free wifi, plenty of outlets, comfortable work spaces, and often printers and general workstations to help you keep up with your work. Airline lounges make great office spaces so don’t fall behind on work just because you’re traveling!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also find the below articles useful:

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points

How To Travel Round the World For Cheap

101 Travel Hacks & Ways to Save Money and Travel Well, for Less

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Why Fly Business Class Seats: The Experience vs Losing a Day

Why Fly Business Class Seats: The Experience vs Losing a Day

I never understood why anyone would opt to pay $3,000-$4,000 more for a business class seat. Having flown many economy flights and business class tickets, here is what I’ve found through my experiences on flying both economy and business.

Flying Economy

Flying economy almost always is something to dread – and with good reason. You’re stuck in a cramped seat for hours and over half a day on overhaul flights.

That’s after spending hours to get to the airport and get through security. Then you go through all the other pains of possible travel delays, baggage issues, and overpriced airport food. Once you’re on the plane, you’re constantly checking the flight time to see if any significant time has passed.

You’re stuck trying to getting some shut-eye while sitting in that cramped seat and just finding any way to pass time by watching movies or reading.

When you finally get to your destination, you’re already exhausted from all the travels. But now you have to settle in and deal with finding your stay or overcoming jet lag.

Yes, unfortunately, that’s the typical flying experience.

Flying Business

That’s until I tried flying business class for the first time. In short, instead of an experience you dread in traveling, it is truly an experience you can look forward to.

The moment you step into the airport, everything is designed to make your life as easy as possible. Not only that, you get to experience feeling very special.

When you check in, there’s a special expedited line for you to check in your luggage (with greater luggage allowances). When you’re ready to go through security, there’s a separate line for you to pass all the “regular” line and travelers.

After you get through security, there’s an airline lounge available for you with showers, food, comfortable chairs, and great workspace for you to relax and do what you need to do.

When ready to board, you’re called in first to a special line. Upon boarding, you’re immediately served drinks and a menu of unique special food that will be provided on flight.

 

 

On overhaul flights, you’re presented with an amenity kit with useful items to make your experience better. Amenity kits usually include eye masks, ear plugs, special lotions, tooth brush, comb. You look forward to dinner as you would if you went to a nice restaurant.

Your seat is huge with plenty of space. And the best part of traveling business class? When you feel tired, you can recline your seat all the way, lie down, and fall sound asleep in the comfort of your seat. Domestic flights don’t have that reclining bed seats but international flights normally will.

Sleeping on flights really is where business class tickets offers the most value in my opinion. If you’re able to get some shut-eye it totally changes your travel day. When you get off the plane, you actually feel refreshed and ready to go. It saves you from having to recover from overhaul flights. If you’re flying for important meetings the very next day, this is invaluable.

Bottom line: If you’re able to afford to pay for a business class ticket, it’ll change your perspective on flying. It will be an experience you’ll look forward to. Better yet, if you can use points & miles to travel on Business Class, you should do it.

If you’re fine with going through the pains and recovery days to travel economy to save, just go with an economy ticket. Economy is usually over 50% of what you would pay for a business class ticket.

If you want to learn how you can fly business class seats without having to pay for it, I wrote some articles below that may be helpful.

How to Travel Around the World for Cheap

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points

 

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Tips for Staying Overnight at an Airport

Tips for Staying Overnight at an Airport 

If you’ve traveled enough, you’re bound to have a layover one night at an airport where you’re stuck for 5, 6, 12, or even 18 hours (yikes!). Here are some tips for staying overnight at an airport.

My best tip is first, to get lounge access.If you find yourself ever having a long layover, having access to an airline lounge will make an enormous difference. It’s a lot simpler than you think with just a bit of research and planning.

How do you get access to a lounge? Here are the most common methods:

  • If you fly business class, your business class ticket will automatically give you access to a lounge.
  • Have a Priority pass membership. Priority pass comes with certain credit cards (The AMEX Platinum card or the VISA Sapphire Reserve card). You’ll have access to over 1,000 lounges around the world.
  • If you have airline status from flying a lot, you’ll have access to their alliance lounge (e.g. For American Airlines status, you get access to One World Alliance lounges, For United Status, you get access to Star Alliance lounges, etc).
  • If you don’t have any of the above, you can also purchase lounge passes usually at most lounges anywhere from $30-50.

I will preface this with knowing that a lot of airline lounges do close at a certain time. Some lounges do open 24 hours. The best way to find out is to use an app called Lounge Buddy. Or check online the airport you will be staying at.

Tip #1: How to go out and visit the City

If your layover is at minimum 5 hours, I would say it is worthwhile to look into going out and visiting the city. Yes, you will have to go out and come back in security. Yes, it is absolutely risky if you get lost or don’t get back in time. But often, it is worth the risk to see a City and will pass time very easily.

First, check the airport if they have baggage drop off (a lot of airports will keep your luggage for a small fee). This will allow you to be a lot more mobile so you can walk around as you wish without lugging luggage around.

Second, do some due diligence in researching transportation options. Can you take a train? Are there buses? Can you call for a ride share (Lyft or Uber?). This will be one of your heavier expenses for getting out so you want to make sure you know how much you’ll be paying before you leave the airport.

Third, have an idea of what you want to do or see once you’re in the City. Spontaneity is great but having a plan and allowing room for spontaneity is better. At least know the area where you want to spend your time in or some of the major attractions you want to see.

Last, but certainly not least, ALWAYS have a return plan and be conservative with it. How will you get back to the airport? Remember to always give yourself at least an extra hour to account for unexpected things to happen (traffic, missed rides, getting lost). On top of that , you’ll need time to check back into the airport (usually at least 1 hour).

Tip #2: How to Sleep in the Airport

If the time is too late or you don’t want to leave the airport, sleeping in airports is usually something a lot of travelers will have to do. It will save you money from booking a hotel at the airport. but I would note that sometimes it is worth checking prices of nearby hotels. Particularly if you’re traveling in Asia, hotels may not be as expensive as you think.

If you have lounge access, check the lounge to see if there are any time restrictions first. Sometimes lounges will have napping rooms which will make it a lot easier to get some shut-eye. But if not, here are some ways I have gotten sleep inside a lounge.

If there is a couch space, couches are actually expected to be used for sleeping travelers. It’s not uncommon so slip off your shoes and ask for a blanket even to get rest on their couch!

If there are no couch spaces, find a workspace that ideally is enclosed. Make yourself a pillow with your backpack or just lay your head on the desk. If you’re tired, you’ll be surprised how easily it is to get some rest that way.

If all else fails, recline back onto a comfortable seat and close your eyes. Even if you can’t fall asleep, just relaxing and closing your eyes will work wonders to give you much needed rest.

Tip #3: How to Not Go Hungry at the Airport

Honestly, this is the easiest tip and not anything revolutionary. But the fact that you’re in a lounge usually means you have access to their buffet of food and refreshments. The only thing to note is their food may be put up at a certain time so be sure to stock up on dried food if you’re planning to stay overnight.

Don’t forget to grab a couple drinks to keep with you so you don’t have to pay $5 for a soda or juice out at the airport.

Tip #4: How to Exercise at an Airport

Sometimes getting some exercise might just be the best idea if you’re stick overnight at an airport. Ask the lounge desk if they can hold your luggage (most lounges will at least have an area for luggage to be kept with security cameras). Just be sure not to leave any super important valuables (passport, money, IDs). Once you have most of your heavy luggage at the lounge, you’re free to walk laps around the airport!

From personal experience, this is one of the most exciting things to do at an airport – walking around freely exploring while getting some exercise and getting those legs going!

Have you ever had to stay overnight at an airport? Share your tips with us!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also find the below articles useful:

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points

5 Best Things to Do at an Airline Lounge

101 Travel Hacks & Ways to Save Money and Travel Well, for Less

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How to Get 500,000 Miles in About 1 Year

At the beginning of the year, I had a little over 500,000 miles. But it was through a couple years of my company’s business expenses (amounting to over half a million dollars) that got us to that amount. We primarily used just two cards – the Chase Business Preferred Visa and the AMEX Business Gold. Those miles had a cash valuation of over $7,000 but I chose to use it a lot more effectively through travel and airline redemption. The two biggest redemption purchases I used it for was a trip around the world (all on business class flights) that would’ve cost about $16,000 and three round trip international tickets for my family that would have cost about $4,000. Those two purchases amounted to about 350,000 miles. 

Half way through the year, I’m close to having around 400,000 miles again. Here is how I got half a million miles a lot quicker and for a lot cheaper…

I will preface this with saying you need pretty good credit in order to get a lot of miles. If not, you may still be able to get a significant amount of miles but it may not amount to the same amount someone with excellent credit can get.

I will also preface this with a caution to make sure you’re always able to pay back debt – especially if it’s on credit. You don’t want to be stuck paying high APR’s nor risk ruining your credit score. If paying off credit cards is difficult, I would suggest you not read on and instead use all cash to avoid some of the pitfalls of credit cards.

Lastly, there are limits to how many credit cards you can open – how credit card companies determine your eligibility is a complex factoring of your total available credit vs used credit and credit history. In a nutshell, they want to know what’s the risk of you paying off your debt. In general, don’t open too many cards all together; I’ve opened one every 3 months healthily.

That being said, here is how to get a lot of miles for cheap and relatively quickly.

#1 Plan Your Spending

The key to getting miles is not just accumulating through regular spending but rather through bonuses.

Credit cards constantly offer high bonuses up to 70,000 to even 100,000 points with a minimum spending requirement usually within 3 months.

The requirement is not unreasonable though. For example, the most common minimum is $3000 in 3 months which is only about $1000 per month. If you just pay regular bills like electricity, internet, phone, insurance, and food you’ll probably easily go over that amount each month.

Obviously, this requires opening several credit cards throughout the year. But contrary to some myths, opening multiple credit cards really have very little effect on your credit score. Having had several credit cards, my credit is still excellent.

Once you have a pretty good understanding of the available cards out there, you want to plan which bonuses to get and make sure you get that bonus. 2-3 weeks before you anticipate reaching the $3,000 mark, go ahead and apply for another card with a similar bonus. As soon as you get the bonus, stop using the card and start using your new card.

Now you’re probably asking about the annual credit card fees. A lot of cards waive the first year’s annual fee so you won’t get dinged if you cancel it before the year ends! But even if the card does have a fee, the bonus is normally significantly more valuable than the annual fee. For example, a 50,000 chase points bonus is equivalent has a valuation of $625 but if you transfer it and use it strategically you can stretch those points even more! That’s way more than a typical $95 annual fee.

At the end of the year, it’s also important to evaluate which cards you want to keep.

So where do you start?

Here is one way I would approach it:

In general, Chase miles and AMEX miles have the most flexibility in terms of what you can spend the miles on. You can transfer to airlines if you want to save on flights. You can transfer to hotels if you want to use the miles to book hotel nights. You can also use miles for car rentals.

Generally, product or gift items have the worst transfer value so you want to avoid using miles to pay for product. But if you needed the cash, of course you can also use those miles to get cash back. 

That being said, I would start with the Chase Card. The Chase Sapphire and Reserve card will get you over 100,000 points alone. These points can be transferred to several airline partners including Southwest, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, United, and more. It would be pretty easy to get the bonuses if you plan your spending in 6 months or less.

If you have a business, you can also qualify for the Chase Business Preferred Card which will get you 80,000 points alone.

Once I’ve exhausted those three Chase Cards, I would move onto AMEX Gold or Platinum Cards that are easily over 100,000 points as well.

AMEX points are also very valuable and can be transferred to a number of airline partners.

If you were to get all three Chase Cards (Sapphire, Reserve, & Business Preferred) and both AMEX Cards (Gold & Platinum), the bonus points alone would be over 300,000 (and that’s not counting the points you get from spending and the bonus point categories you get with each card).

After the Chase & AMEX cards, there are literally dozens of other Cards you can get with awesome bonus mileage (e.g. Chase United Explorer, AMEX Starwood, AAdvantage Mastercard, Hilton Honors, etc.). 

Some cards are more limited in what the bonus miles can be used for. But you’ll begin to learn what perks you get with each bonus and how to maximize the value you get from it.

I don’t consider myself a high spender (I average less than $2,000 a month) but in less than a year, I’ve obtained the following bonuses:

Chase Ink Business Preferred – 80,000
Chase Reserve – 100,000
Chase United Explorer – 70,000
AMEX Starwood – 40,000
AAdvantage Mastercard – 60,000

With the miles I get from spending and bonus categories, I’ll easily hit 250,000 miles this year. If you want to know what you can do with 250,000 miles, you can visit the article I wrote on 5 awesome ways to use 250,000 miles here.

For a list of Credit Cards and its bonus offerings, you can visit – http://milecards.com/1031/top-bonus-mile-offers-with-credit-cards/

(Note* a lot of these websites do get commission for sign-ups through their links. That said, although it’s a good resource, I would still do due diligence to search around for the best bonus offering).

What are some ways you have racked up a lot of miles? Share with us below!

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5 Awesome Ways to Redeem Credit Card Points for Travel

5 Awesome Ways to Redeem Credit Card Points for Travel

This is the second series in my post about Credit Card points. This post will show you creative and awesome ways to redeem credit card points.

1. Travel around the World on Business Class

This past January, I used 240,000 AMEX miles transferred to Kris Miles to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world to over 10 countries all on business class seats. Not only did I experience some of the finest seats and experience in the air, I also got to work & relax in incredible lounges, see all the countries I’ve always wanted to visit, and experience something I would have never had an opportunity to do.

The flights alone would have set me back over $16,000 had I paid in cash. You can read more about my trip here.

It was quite an experience and an awesome way to redeem credit card points!

2. Fly your Family Round trip back to Asia

Earlier this year, I spent 210,000 Chase Credit Card points transferred to United to book three round trip tickets for my family to go back to Asia to visit family. Though the flights weren’t business class seats, they were still on my family’s preferred airline – Eva Air. The tickets would have set my family back over $4,000 had they spent cash.

It’s incredibly rewarding to redeem credit card points for other people – especially when it’s for loved ones.

3: Stay in Excellent Hotels for Free!

Just a few weeks ago, my family and I were able to travel cheap to San Antonio where I used my Starwood Points to book a few nights stay in the Four Points Sheraton hotel. The accommodations were very pleasant with a pool, fitness gym, and a beautiful room for our short vacation/work trip. After two free nights, I still have enough points for 3-10 nights in another hotel, depending on how nice the hotel is we decide to book next!

4: Book a Flight for Two Adults + 1 Infant from U.K. back home

I recently had the opportunity to redeem credit card points to book 2.5 (2 adults, 1 infant) round trip flights from London to DFW on British Airways for family. It was about 95,000 miles + a little over $1,000 in fees. It’s been a couple years since they’ve been back to Dallas so it was a joy to do so.

The flights would have cost about $4500 in cash so it was a great value for the mileage used. The total cost even with the mileage was a little more than it could have been namely because of the infant flying.

Because of the baby, I had to make sure the flights were direct and ideally on a better airlines for infants.

For solo travelers or travelers without babies, I’m sure the RT ticket could have been a lot cheaper.

5. Limitless Options

If you haven’t already noticed, I find the most joy in being able to use mileage to help family and friends travel. Especially when it saves them money and gives them the best possible travel experience that I know I was able to book. But really, the beauty of having a lot of miles is the world opens up to you.

Suddenly, you’re able to go anywhere, live anywhere, see and experience almost anything your heart desires traveling on the best airlines, living in the best hotels, and doing all of it without having to dig into your cash.

From personal experience, this is one of the most exciting things to do at an airport – walking around freely exploring while getting some exercise and getting those legs going!

Have you ever had to stay overnight at an airport? Share your tips with us!

 

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