I have David Code’s book, “To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First” in my Amazon.com wishlist, so I was quite surprised when David emailed me and asked if we could chat during the Frequent Traveler University a few weeks ago.
We met in the lounge of the Sheraton Meadowland (neither of us had elite status, but that’s a post for a different time!) and chatted for well over our scheduled 30 minutes. Time does fly when you’re enjoying yourself talking miles and points! And David asked lots of great questions during the sessions at Frequent Traveler University as well.
His weekend at Frequent Traveler University resulted in How Your Family Can Fly Around the World for (Almost) Free in the Huffington Post. The article is a great introduction to miles and points and explains our hobby extremely well.
The article raises some great points:
1. Force of habit. Most folks use the same credit card out of force of habit. For example, my dad has his bank accounts with the same bank for decades and refuses to shift to more convenient options. He even tries to do all his banking transactions in-person, rather than online.
But using your limited spending to go after credit card sign-up bonuses is the best way to get the miles and points needed for vacations and for weekend getaways with friends and family.
I pointed out repeatedly at Frequent Traveler University that the average American household income is $50,000. This means that if the average household spends everything they earn on a credit card and pays no tax, they will earn only 50,000 miles or points or
$200 $1,000 if they use a 2% cash back card for the entire year.
Or they can sign up for one mega credit card offer and get 50,000 miles, sometimes after the 1st purchase!
2. Business Credit Cards. David mentions the Chase Ink Bold and notes that “you don’t need a business tax ID in order to register.” Business cards are an easy way to double up on the miles and points which you can earn. And you just may be in business and not know it! For example, having a garage sale or selling cookies can be your next business.
3. Award Redemption. David notes that most folks will search for an award online, not find it and then give up. For example, the American Airlines site displays partner airline availability for only British Airways, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines out of the ~25 partner airlines.
Don’t do that!
Instead, use the different tools to find award availability on partner airlines. Using partner airlines is the key to finding the award seats to the destinations you want.
4. Blogs and Forums. David suggests reading the blogs once a day and advises readers to visit Million Mile Secrets, Mommy Points, View from the Wing, The Points Guy, Frugal Travel Guy, and The Wandering Aramean. He also suggests reading the “Granddaddy of Points, Randy Petersen on MilePoint, a friendly forum for fellow point junkies.”
I’d also suggest browsing through the interview series with other miles and points bloggers to find a style which you like and add that to your reading list.
Bottom Line: I was thrilled to chat with David and hope that more folks realize that you don’t have to be rich to have Big Travel with Small Money!