July 2019 Real World Travel, Budget, Deal, and Life Hacking

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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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.

Chase Offers (Southwest Premier Credit Card) - fuboTV

We checked our Chase Offers this month and found that our Southwest Premier credit card was giving us $15.00 back on our next bill for fuboTV!

We attached the offer to our eligible credit card and made sure we paid the bill with it.

We saved $15.00, which is a 33% savings on our monthly fuboTV bill.

Amex Offers - Airbnb

We’re on the constant look out for Amex Offers that we can take advantage of. This month two offers for Staples came up on our Hilton Surpass credit card, and we could stack them!

  1. $5.00 off $25.00

  2. $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.

All said and done we bought a $50.00 Airbnb gift card for $35.00. That’s 30% off lodging!

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

July was a big deal for Amazon Prime members because of Prime Day. However, there was another deal with Amazon that we took advantage of this month.

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.

We saved a total of $30 on Starbucks and $20 on Netflix, for a total $50 savings!

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!


Ride Sharing - Lyft

Tips to Get the Most Out of Ride Sharing Services

There are several ride sharing services available, so check what’s available in your city. We generally use to Lyft or Uber.

  • 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.

  • Price shop all ride sharing services: Uber, Lyft, Juno, etc. Also, you can use the Bellhop app to compare services.

  • 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!

We saved $20.00 with ride credits on Lyft this month!
 
 
 

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.

Per our own valuation of $0.008 cents per point, we earned $13.87 in Hilton Honors points!
 
 

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!

Per our own valuation of $0.015 a mile, we earned $4.95 in JetBlue miles!

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!

Per our own valuation of $0.02 a mile, we earned $18.92 in Delta SkyMiles!
 
 
 

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

We met the minimum spends on two credit cards this month, the Southwest Premier Personal card and the Southwest Premier Business card!

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.

We earned a total of 120,000 Southwest miles. Per our own valuation of $0.015 cents apiece, that’s $1,800 in Southwest 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!

When flying together we’ll essentially get 50% off on all Southwest ticket purchases through the end of 2020!

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.

Per our own valuation of $0.02 a mile we earned $292.96 in Delta SkyMiles!

Also for work, Shannon flew United Airlines and earned 1,360 United Award Miles.

Per our own valuation of $0.016 a mile we earned $21.76 in 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

  • Room upgrades

  • Free breakfast

  • 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.

Per our own valuation of $0.01 cents a point, we earned $766.27 in Marriott Bonvoy points!

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:

  • Premium WiFi

  • 100% bonus on earned points

  • Late checkout

  • No resort fees on reward stays

  • Room upgrades

  • Free breakfast

  • 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.

Per our own valuation of $0.008 cents a point, we earned $472.27 in Hilton Honors points!

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!

 
 

Final Thoughts

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.

July 2019 Budget & Expenses | Digital Nomads Pursuing Financial Independence, Retire Early (FI/RE)

July 2019 Budget & Expenses | Digital Nomads Pursuing Financial Independence, Retire Early (FI/RE)

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