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The Easy Way to Earn Extra Points on Everything You Buy (No Annual Fee!)

What if you like the idea of travel hacking, but don’t want to pay an annual fee? There's a new way to earn cash-back or points—your choice—on a card that never has a fee.

The new Chase Freedom Unlimited card will give you $150 Cash Back just for getting the card (remember, there's no fee). You can "cash in" your free money at any time by applying it to your statement balance.

Alternatively—and often a better choice—you can transform your cash back into Ultimate Rewards points, as long as you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or another Ultimate Rewards-earning card.

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Limited Time: Use Southwest Airlines Points to Fly a Companion Free (For an Entire Year)

Link: 50,000 Rapid Rewards Points (Limited Time)

I almost never fly Southwest Airlines. When flying in the U.S., I usually prefer American Airlines (and sometimes Delta). However, Southwest has millions of loyal fans who love their point-to-point service, unassigned seating, and general friendliness.

For those fans—or anyone who appreciates free travel—you may want to take a look at the improved signup offer for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier card. Instead of just 25,000 points (the usual offer), for a limited time you can earn 50,000 points after completing a $2,000 minimum spend in the first three months.

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Dream Trip Student Earns 21,000 Points from Taking Free Surveys

Last year I co-taught a 28-day course on how to make your dream trip a reality. Throughout the course we heard story after story of people earning hundreds of thousands of miles and points. That was great, but what’s happening now is even better: we’re hearing lots of great stories of how students are using their miles and points.

As I say often, earning miles is great, but putting them toward free travel is much better. 😃

Today I saw a great example of how someone earned a significant number of points without applying for credit cards. The headline says it all: she earned 22,000 Hilton HHonors points by completing online surveys.

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Ending Soon: 100,000 Hotel Points Bonus Offer (+ Another 75,000 Points Offer)

Link: Get 100,000 Hilton Points (with annual fee)

I recently highlighted the largest current signup bonus in the travel world: 100,000 points with the new Hilton HHonors Surpass card. This is a limited time offer, meaning that the travel companies only put it out for a brief window of time before pulling it or lowering the bonus to a much lower amount.

There’s also an offer to earn 75,000 points, another limited-time promotion, without paying an annual fee. Both of these offers are legit and worth considering, even if you don’t usually stay in hotels.

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It’s Raining Points and Miles! Earn Up to 382,500 in the Next 2 Weeks

While I’ve been on the road for my tour, the travel hacking world has been busy. We usually see this phenomenon toward the end of the year, but apparently this time it’s happening much earlier.

I recently mentioned the 100,000 points offer for an all-new card from Hilton, along with an increased offer for another Hilton card. A couple weeks before that, I mentioned the increased signup bonus for the Marriott card.

Since then, two additional new cards have come out, and two other signup bonuses have been increased for a limited time. It’s been hard to keep up with all the new offers that have been flying in, so I’ve compiled the information on the available opportunities below.

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New Offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Points (Enough for 25 Hotel Nights!)

Link: Get 100,000 Hilton Points (with annual fee)

Link: Get 75,000 Hilton Points (with no annual fee)

There have been a bunch of great hotel points deals recently. First, the IHG card went up to 70,000 points before dropping back to 60,000, which is still great. Second, the Marriott card is offering 80,000 points. Those deals are solid and I have both cards.

This week another hotel points offer has just landed, this one from Hilton. To be precise, there are actually two offers, one for an increased signup bonus amount (from 40,000 points to 75,000, which is great), and an all-new card that gets you a whopping 100,000 Hilton points. Yeah, no kidding!

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What Time Should You Arrive at the Airport?

I’m unusual in that I love airports. I'll regularly arrive 2-3 hours in advance of my flight, sometimes even at a small airport without a lounge. There’s just something about being around the bustle of people in motion and aircraft on the tarmac that I find reassuring.

But let’s say that you’re a normal person. Assuming you don’t want to live as I do, when should you arrive at the airport before a flight?

Two simple guidelines will help.

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A Better Way to Think About Traveling for Nearly Free

16572590216_0d1b6a2665_z Readers who are learning about travel hacking tend to have lots of questions about what their miles and points are worth. I’m the first to say that I’m not the best at determining a specific valuation. I have a CPA to help with my taxes, I hardly ever check website statistics or any other analytics, and math isn't my strong suit.

So when it comes to valuation, I tend to look to some general rules instead of getting hyper specific. By far the most important rule is: travel hacking helps me have amazing experiences.

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2016 Dining Dash Coming Up! Visit 12 Restaurants, Earn Miles for the Rest of the Year

If you aren’t tired from stuffing envelopes for hotel points, there’s an all-new travel hacking adventure coming up on Friday. You can join us from anywhere in the U.S. for this one.

Two years ago, I co-created the "Dining Dash." We went to 12 restaurants in a single day, all in pursuit of “running the table” on earning all the qualifying stops we’d need to earn extra Frequent Flyer miles when dining at many other restaurants for a whole year.

Last year we repeated the adventure together, and ended up in a bar (our 12th stop!) with a dozen other local friends and readers.

Well, a new year means it’s time to qualify yet again ... so the Dining Dash is coming back!

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I Flew in an Apartment in the Sky… and It Was Awesome!

EYapt - 1 Earlier this year I identified a new travel goal: to fly in the Etihad "Apartment,” a full-on suite that’s included on their A380 aircraft on certain routes.

Well, as of last week I can now say “mission accomplished”—I flew in The Apartment from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, a 15-hour journey. The short version of the flight is: it was amazing.

Here’s how it all went down.

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Should You Earn Hotel Points if You Don’t Usually Stay at Hotels?

7916189566_7ffe197494_z Recently I’ve published a couple of posts about how to get free hotel nights. Among others, you can learn:

A lot of readers have taken advantage of these deals and are busy earning lots of free stays. Others, though, question whether it’s “worth it” if you don’t usually stay in hotels.

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Get Two Months Free in the Travel Hacking Cartel

JapanTHC Link: Get 2 Months Free in the Travel Hacking Cartel

A few years ago I started the Travel Hacking Cartel, a service that has now helped more than 20,000 people travel for nearly free.

The reason I started it was simple: lots of you wanted to learn how to earn miles and points (and then use them to see the world), but felt overwhelmed with an abundance of information from forums, blogs, and other resources.

The Cartel is still going strong with this mission, and we regularly hear success stories from members who have been able to travel places they had only dreamed of before.

There was just one problem...

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New Offer: Earn 80,000 Marriott Points (Enough for 8 Hotel Nights!)

9565462783_bd249dae0a_z Link: 80,000 Marriott Points (!)

Last week I mentioned how to earn free hotel stays year after year. But here’s something new—a big bonus to earn at least 80,000 Marriott Points.

Until a few days ago, the bonus was 50,000 points, so this is basically a 60% bonus for doing nothing different. Of course, Marriott isn’t just being generous here. They want to compete with other offers! But since the requirements to earn the points haven’t changed, there’s not really any downside for you.

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