Post 2 Of 3
This post is post number 2 of a 3 part series on how to reach financial independence – How One Man Traveled To 65 Countries For Free
Part 1: A Step By Step Guide To Early Retirement
Part 2: Current post
Part 3: How To Launch A Side Business To Earn More & Retire Faster
Interested In Travel But Don’t Want To Spend The Money On Pricey Flights?
Meet Scott Grimmer .
He’s been flying for free, often in first class for over 3 years.
Yup – that’s him overlooking the towering buildings of Hong Kong.
He travelled there on a Cathay Pacific first class award that should have cost $11,274.
He’s traveled all around the world on adventures on every continent.
Including climbing the Great Wall of China on a stop over on a trip that took him from Honolulu to Hong Kong to Beijing, Seoul, and Los Angeles.
No, he’s not a mogul and doesn’t own a yacht.
These two trips cost him a total of only $170 in taxes and the use of miles collected from just one credit card bonus.
He has managed to travel to 66 countries (and counting) over the last few years and flown first class or business class to every inhabited continent, on planes with:
- Onboard bars
- Private suites
- Onboard shower spas
Never heard of an onboard shower spa?
I hadn’t either, until I learned about travel hacking.
Here’s a highlight of a few of the luxurious experiences he’s received as a result of flying first class:
- A free hour-long Thai massage at an airport
- Driven in a Porsche on the tarmac to the plane
- Puffed away in the Cigar Lounge of a first class terminal
All because of his first class award tickets.
But I want to make something clear. It wasn’t always this way. He started out just like most people, saving up for economy and budget hotels just so he could see the world.
Figuring out how to use airline miles and points has allowed him to travel the way he does.
Today I’m going to show you that you don’t need to be rich to travel like the rich and famous.
Travel Hacking & Financial Independence
One of the reasons I love travel hacking is because it puts you in a position to save your money and put it towards your investments, while still maintaining or often upgrading your lifestyle.
The more money you’re able to save, the faster you’re able to retire and reach financial independence.
Your saving rate is an important part of reaching financial independence as we talked about in part 1 of this 3 part series.
If you can utilize luxurious frugality, like you can with travel hacking, in a few different areas in your life you can save tens of thousands of dollars annually.
The Key To Earning Miles
The key is to earn thousands of miles for things you already do. Then redeem them for their best uses in creative ways so you can travel more, better, and cheaper.
The main way to collect hundreds of thousands of miles each year is by:
- Signing up for new credit cards
- Using everyday spending to meet their minimum spending requirements
- Collecting the huge sign-up bonuses
Action Tip: Looking to go on a getaway to Europe? The best miles to go to Europe are United miles.A round trip award costs 60,000 miles plus taxes of $50 to $300, depending on where you return from (hint: don’t choose London), and United miles can be used on 27 Star Alliance member airlines, including almost a dozen that fly to Europe.
All that partner award space is searchable on united.com, so you can easily book your trip to Europe.
Log into your United MileagePlus account (open one for free if necessary). From time to time they offer a credit card with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000.
If you add an authorized user and meet that spending requirement, you’ll have earned 57,000 United miles.
This is just short of a round trip to Europe.
In his Fly Free In First E-book we will also discuss earning miles from:
- Shopping online
- Dining out
- Using credit cards better
- Opening brokerage accounts
- Even conjuring miles seemingly out of thin air with manufactured spending
We’ll also talk about how to redeem miles to double or triple the number of places you can see on an award using stopovers, open jaws, and free one ways.
What are stop overs, open jaws and free one ways?
A Stopover is when one of your layovers lasts longer than 24 hours. It’s a cool way to see extra cities on the same trip. Some types of miles allow it, and some don’t. We’ll break down which airlines allow it and which don’t in the guide.
An open jaw is when you fly into one city as your destination, but you return from a different city.
Here’s an example: Fly from New York to London, but then returning home from Paris to New York, instead of from London to New York.
Why Book An Open Jaw?
If you wanted to see many places on the same award without backtracking to the original destination. Maybe you’re in Europe and it’s easier to take a train from London to Paris!
A Free One Way
A free one way is a one-way itinerary to or from your home airport added on to another award for no extra miles.
Here’s an example:
If you added Newark to Los Angeles onto a roundtrip United award from Newark to Frankfurt costs zero extra miles. In this case, Newark to Los Angeles would be a free one way.
The trip would look like this: Newark – Frankfurt, Frankfurt- Newark, Newark- Los Angeles. The last segment would be your free one way and can be used anytime within a year of booking it!
Tip: While the rules differ by airline–some form of a free one way is possible on United, Alaska, and many foreign programs’ awards–the “trick” that unlocks a free one way is constant: a stopover at your home airport.
Here’s another tip. Don’t use your 60,000 United miles for a roundtrip from Los Angeles to London. This would have $200 in taxes.
Use it for an award that flies Los Angeles to London to see Big Ben, then take a take a train to Paris.
After seeing the Eiffel Tower, pick up the award again by flying from Paris to Munich for Oktoberfest.
Then you can fly back to Los Angeles from Munich.
This extra travel would cost only about the same $200 in taxes on the award plus the train trip from London to Paris.
Get Creative – Cool Awards For A Great Deal
Here are some awards that he shows you exactly how to book in his Fly Free in First E-book.
One: How to reverse-engineer your dream trip and work backwards to your goal.
A big reason people fail at redeeming miles is that they start collecting them without an end goal in mind.
There are many types of miles and many different loyalty programs.
Different miles are right for different destinations.
So your first step is figuring out where you want to go so you can then establish which type of miles is right for your trip.
Two: How to get $450 in free flights, hotels, and car rentals that you can use in the next 60 days (maybe for a trip home for Christmas) by opening one credit card.
This is a cool strategy using “Credit Card Points Pretending To Be Miles”. That’s one of the five types of miles referenced earlier.
Many people only use this type of miles to collect points, and it’s one of the least effective ways to travel.
That said, there are circumstances where it makes a lot of sense to use these miles. For example, high-peak travel times like Christmas.
You’ll learn more about this in Scotts full interview which is waiting for you inside the 4% club membership.
Three: How to get $3,142 in free flights on Southwest Airlines for you and a companion in 2016 and 2017 from opening two credit cards.
A Southwest Companion Pass lets a designated friend or family member travel with you on any Southwest flight for free (plus $5.60 in taxes per one way).
This perk could save you tens of thousands of dollars.
The trick to this flight is earning 110,000 points within a calendar year.
Earning these points will unlock the Companion Pass. This is one of the most lucrative and popular benefits in the world of frequent flyer miles.
You can earn these miles by signing up for two credit cards. These will earn you the 110,000 points you need to unlock the pass.
Four: How to see 11 cities in South America in one big trip from opening two credit cards
Always wanted to go to South America, but can’t decide where you want to go?
He’ll show you how to see 11 cities in South America for just 85,000 miles Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
If you think 85,000 miles is a lot, think again.
You can earn these by signing up for the Citi ThankYou Premier card and the Citi Prestige card. Each of these cards has a minimum spend of $3,000 over 3 months to unlock the bonus points.
The trick to this trip is taking advantage of Cathay Pacific Asia Miles stop over rules.
When booking a trip with Asia Miles you can make a up to five stopovers, two transfers and two open jaws.
Using these rules is the key to hitting 11 cities on this trip for just 85,000 miles. Remember we went over what a stop over and open jaw was earlier.
Scott talks about how to meet minimum spend requirements on credit cards without increasing your spending in his full interview.
Five: How to book the same Delta flights to Hawaii that Delta charges 45,000 miles roundtrip to book for 35,000 miles. And book flat beds to Hawaii for 60,000 miles roundtrip instead of 80,000.
United Airlines serves four major Hawaiian Islands. It also releases the most Saver award space on its flights to Hawaii.
A common beginner mistake is to assume using United miles is best to fly to Hawaii.
This would be a big mistake.
One of the key concepts we teach in the Milevalue E-book is how to find the best mileage route with the least cost.
In this case United partner Singapore Airlines miles program would be the best use of miles.
Every airline has different award charts that price routes differently.
Knowing which are the best type of miles for your trip will save you a ton of time and miles.
For example Briish Airways Avios are fantastic for short, direct, economy awards with no fuel surcharge.
Use them to book from:
- Miami, Dallas or New York to Latin America
- Intra Region flights like Intra South Africa and Intra Australia
Fancy traveling to Japan from the U.S?
Just 25,000 American Airlines Miles you can do this most of the year or fly in Business class for just 50,000 AA miles
In the Fly Free In First E-book I created, he lists out some of the cheapest awards, or sweet spots for each region of the world.
Use this list for when you’re planning your round the world trip to piece together your trip.
Six: How to Get Free Hotel Rooms anywhere in the world
Just like flights, there are several ways to hack your accommodation.
Here is a look at several ways to achieve this:
- Free night certificates – These are certificates that are usually awarded to you after signing up for a hotel credit card and meeting minimum spend. These can be used for the cheapest hotel in a chain, or the most expensive (think $1,000 suite in Bora Bora). The strategy here is to use your free night certificates for very expensive hotels and locations and use points you collect for lower priced Category 1 hotels.
- Points and Point Promotions – Many hotel credit cards reward you with points after meeting minimum spending requirements. These points can be redeemed for free nights at hundreds of properties associated with the hotel chain.Credit cards aren’t the only way to earn points though. In fact one of the best way to earn points for free nights stay isn’t through credit cards at all. It’s through points promotions.A point promotion is when a hotel runs a deal that allows you to earn bonus points based on a certain action.Here’s an example of a promotion: Complete three paid nights at an IHG hotel and earn 50,000 points. 50,000 points is enough for 10 free nights. Talk about a great deal!
- Priceline bidding – Using Priceline bidding you can save as much as 60% off your hotels. The key is qualifying for re-bids, which we talk about in the E-book.
- Best Rate Guarantees –Using Best Rate Guarantees you can get completely free stays at luxury hotels across the world. Here’s how it works: Book with a hotel/site that offers a Best Rate Guarantee and find a lower rate elsewhere and get a free night, gift card, discount or points. Basically you get rewarded by helping the hotels keep the other booking sites accurate.
Let’s Look At The Math Behind Travel Hacking For Someone Earning $60,000 Per Year
If you’re the average saver – you’re putting away 5% of your income. In this case that works out to $3k per year. And if we do the math… that means you can retire in 65.8 years.
That’s a long time. Let’s see if we can speed things up.
Let’s say every year you spend $3k per year on a two week vacation.
By implementing the advice in this post and in Scotts full interview, instead of spending $3k on travel, you can fly for free using points and miles. You can also get hotel accomidation using these same strategies.
If you use these techniques, you save the $3,000… but you don’t miss out on the vacation. In fact – you’re probably travelling in far more luxurious conditions than before.
Except now you’re saving $6k, or 10% of your income…
That means you can retire in just 51.4 years.
That’s still a long time, but you just saved 14.4 years of work from this simple little strategy.
14.4 YEARS of working from one simple little strategy that anyone can implement.
My goal is that you layer this strategy on top of the many other strategies that are outlined in the 4% club launching December 17th in order to significantly speed up your retirement date. I’ll show you how to drop your goal retirement date down by decades, not just years.
Alright I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post so far and are feeling inspired about your travel plans. Let me know by commenting below! Where do you want to travel to?
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If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me at brittany(at)brittanylynch.com
Interested In Travel But Don’t Want To Spend The Money On Pricey Flights? Learn many of the travel hacks one man used to travel to 65 countries for FREE!