July 2019 Real World Travel, Budget, Deal, and Life Hacking
Did you know that airlines and hotels are giving miles and reward points away for ‘free’? And, did you know that credit cards offer deals, credits, and huge signup bonuses just for using their card?
It gets even better when everything aligns perfectly and you score unbelievable deals and savings by stacking them! See how we travel, budget, deal, and life hacked this month.
This is a recurring series where we talk about our travel, budget, deal, and life hacking for the month. We share with you in hopes that you’ll find a few takeaways to implement yourself.
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Being minimalists and frugal helps, but there’s a bit more to it than that. We’re able to get exponential savings and benefits with travel hacking, stacking deals and offers, house sitting, strategically using miles and points, and being flexible enough to take advantage of opportunities as they come up!
If you’re wondering how to travel internationally, or simply vacation nearby and not spend a fortune on airfare or hotels, then we’d like to welcome you to the world of ‘travel hacking’. See what credit cards we carry, and how we take full advantage of the points and miles we’ve earned.
Amex Offers - Airbnb
$5.00 off $25.00
$10.00 off $40.00
While we didn’t need any office supplies we could always make use of a gift card. We ended up stacking both offers on a $50.00 Airbnb gift card.
Tip: Take your savings to the next level by using the ‘right’ card that offers the highest category multiplier, i.e. 4x at office stores.
Amazon and American Express Rewards - Netflix & Starbucks
Valid on purchases up to $250.00, Amazon gave 20% off if you paid with American Express Rewards. We were sure to read the fine print and found that we only needed to use one American Express Reward point to activate the offer.
We took full advantage of the 20% off and purchased a $100.00 Netflix gift card (final price $80.00) and a $150.00 Starbucks gift card (final price $120) with our Amex EveryDay credit card.
Tip: Gift cards are a great way to take advantage of deals like these, especially when there’s nothing in particular you need to purchase. To make the most of your money, consider purchasing gift cards on services you already use or stores you regularly shop at. Otherwise, they make great gifts!
Don’t miss our Ultimate Gear and Packing Lists! Whether you’re traveling long-term or going on a short vacation, we'll show you how to travel with a single carry-on. We share our packing lists (his and hers!), packing tips, and our favorite gear. Plus, we discuss what we don’t carry and why!
Be sure to use the best credit card you have for the specific category you’re spending in (travel, restaurant, office supplies, etc.) to maximize savings/points further.
In the case of Lyft, credit card transactions code as ‘travel’ so you’ll want you be sure and use the best card (highest multiplier) in that category. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), Wells Fargo Propel (3x on travel), Citi Premier (3x on travel), etc.
The exception to using the card with the best travel multiplier is when you’re trying to hit a minimum spend to get a bonus on a specific credit card.
Review ride sharing reward programs to find the program that best suits your riding habits.
If possible, avoid surge pricing. Prices increase in situations where demand is especially high for rides, like rush hour or when it’s raining.
When using a ride sharing service that offers reward points or miles on other reward programs, be sure to connect the appropriate accounts. For example, Hilton, JetBlue, and Delta accounts should be connected to your Lyft account.
Lyft - Business Rewards
For every five Lyft business rides completed (at a minimum of $10.00) a $5.00 ride credit is added to your personal account.
Shannon rides frequently with Lyft for work so she accumulates more $5.00 personal Lyft ride credits than we can use. The only downside to this reward perk is that you can’t combine credits on a ride. Meaning, only one $5.00 personal Lyft ride credit can be used per ride. Sadly, $5.00 doesn’t get us very far in NYC!
Lyft - Hilton Honors Reward Points
Every dollar you spend on Lyft rides (economy, luxury, and extra seats) earn three Hilton Honors points! If you’re taking advantage of Shared Lyft rides then you’ll be earning two points per dollar spent.
We earned 1,734 Hilton Honors points thanks to Lyft business rides this month.
Lyft - JetBlue Award Miles
For every Lyft ride you take to or from an airport you’ll earn 30 JetBlue points!
This month we earned a total of 330 JetBlue points by using Lyft to go to and from the airport for business!
Note: Unfortunately, Lyft and JetBlue have announced their partnership will end on September 9, 2019. So, take advantage of this opportunity while you still can!
Lyft - Delta SkyMiles
Link your Delta SkyMiles account to Lyft and get one mile for every dollar spent on Lyft rides. Plus, get two miles for every airport ride!
This month we earned a total of 946 Delta SkyMiles by using Lyft to get around town and go to and from the airport for business!
World Elite MasterCard Credit Cards
World Elite credit card holders receive a $10 credit after taking five Lyft rides in a calendar month. The credit is automatically applied to your next ride and is capped at one per month.
We don’t currently hold this credit card, but want to mention this deal in case you do!
Our tool box is full of resources! From travel hacking to house sitting, digital nomad jobs to privacy and security, financially independent retire early (FI/RE) to entertainment, plus travel hacking (credit cards, miles, points, and rewards), and much much more…
Signup Bonuses on Southwest Premier Credit Cards
On the personal card we met the minimum spend and earned 60,000 miles.
On the business card we met the minimum spend and earned 60,000 miles.
Tip: When we originally applied for the Southwest Premier Personal card, the bonus was 40,000 miles for a $1,000 spend. About a week later we noticed the bonus was increased to 60,000 miles for a $3,000 spend. We asked (via a Chase Secure Message) if they’d upgrade our card to this offer, and once we met the $3,000 spend requirement they did! YMMV (your mileage may vary).
Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best travel hacking tools in the industry. While most airlines give you only one companion pass per year, or just offer a discount for your companion, Southwest takes it to another level.
Earn a Southwest Companion Pass by accumulating 110,000 Southwest miles in a year. Do this and your companion will fly for free (pay only the tax) for the rest of the year you earned it in and the following year!
This month we earned over 120,000 Southwest miles when we met the spend requirements on our Southwest Premier Personal and Business credit cards. This put us well over the 110,000 miles required for the Companion Pass!
The value of the companion pass could be phenomenal if you make the most of it and do your best to fly Southwest!
Miles Earned by Flights
This month we also earned miles the old fashioned way, by flying with Delta and United.
Shannon flew quite a bit this month for work and focused primarily on Delta, earning 14,648 Delta SkyMiles.
Also for work, Shannon flew United Airlines and earned 1,360 United Award Miles.
Marriott Platinum Elite Status
Earn Marriott’s Platinum Elite status by staying 50+ nights (including award nights) within a calendar year.
This month we took advantage of the following Marriott Platinum Elite benefits:
Enhanced internet access
50% bonus on earned points
4 pm late checkout
Club lounge access
With our 50% point bonus, quarterly promotions, and points earned by paying for stays with our Marriott Bonvoy credit card, we earned 76,627 Marriott Bonvoy points this month.
Tip: Make the most of your Marriott stays by paying with you Marriott Bonvoy credit card. You’ll get an additional multiplier on points earned and end up scoring big!
London, San Francisco, Paris, New York City, Athens and more?! Trusted Housesitters has allowed us to travel the world on a budget, but more importantly given us an opportunity to make new friends and have cute and cuddly companions along the way. Sign up and start your next great adventure!
Hilton Diamond Status
Earn Hilton’s Diamond Elite status by staying 60+ nights (including redemption nights) within a calendar year.
This month we took advantage of the following Hilton Diamond Elite benefits:
100% bonus on earned points
No resort fees on reward stays
Executive lounge access
Second guest stays free
With our 100% point bonus, quarterly promotions, and additional points earned by paying for stays with our Hilton Surpass credit card, we earned 59,034 Hilton Honors points this month.
Tip: Make the most of your Hilton stays by paying with you Hilton Surpass credit card. You’ll get an additional multiplier on points earned and end up scoring big!
Some months the stars seem to align and we’re able to take advantage of so many deals and offers. This was definitely one of those months.
Again, hopefully our travel, budget, deal, and life hacks this month have inspired you to implement similar savings and point and mile earnings.