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4 Travel Hacking Tricks for Domestic Trips

I received a note from a reader who wanted to know about traveling domestically. I admit that most of what I get excited about in the world of travel hacking relates to international travel. I like flying around the planet and changing as many as twelve time zones at once, only to do it again a few days later.

But not everyone feels the same way, and besides—even if you travel far and wide, you still probably need to travel shorter distances from time to time too.

How can you benefit from travel hacking when planning relatively simple trips? Here are four very helpful tricks.

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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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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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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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Why the Best Way to Earn Miles & Points Still Hasn’t Changed

3489951440_7edeebd79e_z Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred (50,000 Points Bonus)

I’m always on the lookout for new travel hacking opportunities. Even though I don’t need to earn as many miles & points as I used to, it’s still fun.

This year I’ll be flying in The Apartment at 30,000 feet. I’ll be going back to my favorite country, Australia. And I’ll be heading out on a 30-city book tour. (You can come, too.)

… and I’m sure there will be many other adventures along the way. For all of these experiences and more, I’ll be using the same credit card.

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Adventures in Envelope Stuffing: Weekend Update

Yesterday afternoon, I headed to Office Depot for an important mission: I had to buy 100 envelopes, stamps, and index cards. I then spent the next several hours diligently writing the same information over and over and each of the cards, before stuffing them in the envelope and affixing a stamp.

It was actually a lot more fun than it sounds.

As detailed last week, if you’re up for your own envelope stuffing adventure, you can receive at least 47,000 IHG hotel points for your time and trouble. These points can then be used for up to 9 free hotel stays anywhere in the world.

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Many Dreams Aren’t That Hard to Achieve

8124163994_523112045b_z Toward the end of Up in the Air, the character played by George Clooney calls up American Airlines and asks to transfer some of his Frequent Flyer miles to his sister.

"How many miles?" the agent asks.

“Enough to go completely around the world."

I saw that movie with my parents several years ago, and when we left the theatre, my mom asked, “How many miles does it take to go around the world?”

She thought I’d know the answer, and of course I did.

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Limited Offer: 50,000 Points Bonus for United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Link: 50,000 Miles for United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Over the past four days I've been filming (and preparing...) non-stop for our new "Make Your Dream Trip a Reality" course. We kicked off on Tuesday morning with a live broadcast that many of you watched.

_MG_6842 copy More news on that including a full recap of Week 1 is coming tomorrow! I'm behind on posts but will catch up soon. :)

In the meantime, here's a special deal that just came out. If you're jumping into the world of miles and points this week, here's a way to get a bunch of extra points that aren't usually available.

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New! Sign Up to “Make Your Dream Trip a Reality” (A 30-Day Creative Live Course)

DreamTripHeader_converted Link: Register for Free "Dream Trip" Course

Attention, everyone! My travel hacking colleague Stephanie Zito and I will be teaching an all-new online course starting later this month, and I'd love for you to join us.

We previously taught a one-day workshop that was watched live by more than 12,000 of you. The feedback we got after that one was: “Whoa, this is great—but there’s so much info!”

For this one, we’re teaching everything through 30 short, action-packed lessons (a new one unveiled each weekday once we begin on April 26) and focusing on something more specific. It’s not just “earn a ton of miles and points,” although we'll certainly show you how to do that. More importantly, it’s about taking a dream trip, going somewhere you’ve always wanted to but haven’t planned for or thought was too expensive.

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Earn Ultimate Rewards Points By Educating Your Friends on Miles & Points

Here’s a fun thing: many of you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It’s a great card for a lot of reasons, and is usually my #1 recommendation when people are just starting to get into the world of miles and points.

If you have the card, you can now earn extra miles for referring your friends.

Here’s how it works:

  • You’ll earn 5,000 points for every successful referral
  • Your friends will receive the best offer currently available (the same one we have through our partner, Cards for Travel)
  • You can refer up to 10 friends for 50,000 points in total
  • The deadline is May 31, 2015

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The Single Best Credit Card for Travelers: Earn 40,000 Points Now and More Everywhere You Go

Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Last year we had a celebration for Tyler, our Adventure Czar, when he came home from running a marathon on Antarctica. At the end of the night, I went to pay my tab, and the bartender said, “What is this card that all of you guys have?!”

It turned out that of the dozen or so folks that had an open tab at the bar that night, at least half of us were using the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

There’s a good reason for that! Our readers are smart. :)

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Updated Offer: 70,000 Points + Additional Free Stay from IHG Hotels

Link: 70,000 IHG Hotel Points

An updated travel hacking offer has just landed. All of a sudden, anyone who likes to stay in hotels free has an all-new option: the IHG® Rewards Club Select card.

IHG brands range from the upscale Intercontinental (very nice) to the mid-range Crowne Plaza (depends on the property) to the down-market Holiday Inn Express (well, in some markets there are far worse places).

The latest version of the card has a strong signup offer: 70,000 points after completing a low $1,000 minimum spend in three months. That's not enough for you? OK, you'll also get an additional free night valid at over 4,700 hotels throughout the network for every year you remain a cardmember.

In addition to the improved signup bonus, the card also offers the following benefits:

  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
  • $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49

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Top 5 Credit Card Signup Bonuses for Miles & Points: February

Every year I earn well over one million Frequent Flyer miles and points. About 250,000 of them come through actual travel, and the rest come through travel hacking: the art of seeing the world on a budget.

One of the easiest ways to earn a lot of miles all at once is through credit card signup bonuses. This post contains the best current card offers as of Wednesday, February 4. If getting every card from this post, you'd earn 215,000 points or miles. Happy travels!

In this edition:

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