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What It’s REALLY Like Being Married to Travel Hacker

What It's REALLY Like Being Married to Travel Hacker (1)

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Hi! My name is Malini, and I’m married to a travel hacker. But guess what? It’s not how you think it is. I have friends that are constantly teasing me. “Girl, I wish we could all be so lucky. You just need to smile at your husband and he books you a first-class ticket to Italy.” Uh, not quite.

So in an effort to keep it real, let me tell you what it’s REALLY like being married to a travel hacker.

  1. Expect your spouse to turn into a “computer screen zombie.” A travel hacker is constantly on the hunt to earn more points. Most people think, “Hey, I just signed up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, check out my awesome travel hacking skills.” I hate to break it to you, but one (albeit incredibly sexy) credit card does not a travel hacker make. It’s a good start, but a seasoned travel hacker will tell you that you to get the best hacks, you’ll have to do your research and think differently. A huge part of that is talking with other people who do their research and think differently. And it’s often time-sensitive so you really don’t want to miss a great hack. So, more often than not my husband has turned into a “computer screen zombie.” Easily recognized as hunched over his laptop, eyes rapidly moving back and forth soaking in all the “good stuff”.
  2. You get a ton of mail. As in, a ton of new credit cards in your name, shipped to your house. Constantly. If you’re married to a travel hacker, he’ll have all your personal details committed to his memory so he can easily sign you up for great credit cards. Your spouse will stop asking permission and just assume that he knows best. (And you’ll accept that he’s right.)
  3. You also get random presents. At first this might sound awesome, but in reality, it’s usually something like a gift card to a store where you don’t shop (because the portal bonus was SO DAMN GOOD). “Thanks, honey for this awesome Staples gift card…..”
  4. You’ll take romantic walks…to the grocery store. “Let me just stop in real quick, honey, I just need to grab some gift cards and it’s 5x bonus in grocery stores through tonight!”
  5. You’ll have detailed, confusing weekly conversations that go like this. “Babe, if you go to the grocery store, use the Chase Freedom card because the quarterly bonus is 5x per dollar. If you pick up a prescription, use your Amex Platinum and if they don’t take it, as a second option, use the Chase Sapphire Reserve. When you’re getting gas, use your Discover It card, or as a second option your Freedom card, but just through the end of the week – after that you should use your Barclays card. If you go out to lunch with friends, make sure you’re using the Citi Prestige. And if you are buying something online, PLEASE only buy through the Southwest portal with the Southwest card. Oh and you should be getting the new Amex gold card in the mail any day, so when that comes in just put everything else on it so we hit the minimum spend ASAP.  Thanks!”
  6. Your spouse will challenge everything and never accept face value. “What do you mean I’m not approved for this credit card?” He’ll keeping calling back customer service until he gets a better answer. “What do you mean I can’t do a round-the-world flight for 45k points?” He’ll consult travel forums, text fellow travel hacking friends, read blog posts and then call customer service armed with this new knowledge. He almost always gets what he wants.
  7. You don’t get to pick where you want to go. A travel hacker spouse cares more about the hack than the location. So even if he says “Hey, I know you want to go to Switzerland, I’ll see what I can find” what he means is “We can go to Switzerland if the moon and the sun and the stars and the points and the partner airlines align but it’s just as likely that we will go to Japan or Hong Kong or Greece. Cool?”
  8. You can’t have a normal social life. You’ll have a never-ending invitations to “go grab coffee.” This is code for “teach me all you know about travel hacking.” And he probably knows a lot, so this will eat up your entire social calendar.

Well, I hope this peek into my marriage has given you some insider insight. It’s not at all like how it appears from the outside, but I’m certainly not complaining. I hope my husband never stops using his geek skills to book me and my four year old on business class flights all around the world.

Malini has always been obsessed with travel. She and her husband, along with their 4 year old, LOVE to travel the world courtesy of points and miles. If you’d like follow along on her crazy adventures, or you’re just looking for a bit of travel inspiration, be sure to check out her blog Lakes and Lattes. Her absolute favorite credit card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

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Categories: free travel, Gift Cards, Miscellaneous, portals | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

How to easily earn miles and points shopping online

Online shopping is here to stay

Americans love to spend. But do you know how much is spent every second, minute and by the hour? Checkout this website retale that shows you retail in real time. Below is a snapshot from my time on the website and I am totally AMAZEDD!!!! In 59 seconds more than half a million is spent on retail online (can it all go through my frequent flyer account for just the next hour) retale snap There are many more interesting figures and facts (4366 Donuts sold just via Dunkin) that you can explore by visiting the Retale website here. Today online shopping is getting more and more popular and to catch up with the demand companies like Amazon have introduced Amazon Prime Air were goods will be delivered to you in less than 30 minutes using drones. So you are thinking what has that to do with me? In the last year simply by shopping online I generated more than 30,000 miles (enough for a roundtrip ticket) and points just by changing the way I shop. That does not include several hundred dollars I made in cash back bonuses by doing that I was already doing . i.e. shop online!! in my perspective  earning miles and points shopping online is missing easy opportunities and  leaving lot of easy miles and points on the table. missed_opportunities

How to start earning miles shopping online?

You should first know every credit card in your wallet and benefits that come with it such as Discover and Chase Freedom credit card are popular for cash back and have rotating categories every quarter. You would see the following three categories on most portals

  • Cash Back Rewards
  • College Saving Plan & Other Savings Rewards
  • Frequent Flyer Miles & Hotel Rewards

Usually you can earn more Frequent Flyer Miles or Hotel Points than Cash Back, but keep a look-out for cases where the Cash Back is much more than the Frequent Flyer Miles or Hotel Points such as of interest is the latest offer from Discover IT credit card where they would double your cash back at the end of each year. Here  are a few website that you can use to check which  portal will offer you most points for the same purchase –

1. EVREWARDS – This is probably my go to site for most purchases to compare rewards but the information is not always updated. For example, I put Dell in the search Engine and the results are show below ev rewards So Discover shopping portal may be your best option as it offers you 5% cashback. For those who do not have a Discover credit card but have one of the Chase cards such as Freedom, Ink Business or Sapphire prefered can use the Ultimate rewards portal and earn 3 points a dollar which is not a bad deal. Ultimate rewards points are great and extremely valuable as you can easily transfer them to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners.

2. CashReporter is another website that compares cashback you can earn from different websites shopping online. It does not show information for airline and hotel partners. For example I like shopping at Groupon but wouldn’t that be cool you could earn cashback on every Groupon purchase you did – how does 10% cash back sound? cashreporter cashback Topcashback is the best of the lot when it comes to cashback from Groupon. If you do not have a Topcashback account you may use my affiliate link to join here

3. Webflyer will let you compare primarily  air miles you  earn via shopping online. This may be the best portal for folks who just care for earning air miles and are not into cashback. I searched for Lowe’s in this portal webflyer portalAmerican Airlines AAdvantage shopping portal beats the rest as it has 3 miles per $ spent. So if you purchased a $250 lawn mower from Lowe’s shopping online you could earn 750 AAdvantage miles on top of what the credit card already offers. Isn’t that easy?

4. Cashback Monitor will let you compare 42 reward sites to maximize your earnings. Lets search for Macy’s using this portal cashback monitor This website makes it really easy to categorize as the best offers shows up on top whether being cashback bonus or air miles. You will earn 10% cashback shopping via Discover and 10 miles per $ shopping through Alaska Airline Shopping portal. A purchase of $100 from Macy’s will earn you 1000 Alaska Airline miles or $10 cashback from Discover – choice is yours!!!

Bottomline

As you can see earning miles, points and cashback is very easy using online portals. To maximize your earning you should compare cashback, miles and points from each portal to maximize your returns.

Categories: airmiles, Cashback, portals, Top Cashback | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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