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Do Hard Things Because They Are Hard

Last week I went to Utah to run an unusual marathon. My time was well over two hours slower than any marathon I've done, but that was by design—I was running with someone who was doing a series of extreme events back-to-back, every day for 100 days in a row.

The pace, therefore, was slow.

His name is James Lawrence, more popularly known as the Iron Cowboy. I'd heard of James a year or two ago after watching a documentary of his previous quest where he attempted (and accomplished, with a few small variations along the way) 50 Ironman-distance triathlons in 50 states in 50 days.

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Travel Hacking Opportunity: Easy Way for Small Business Owners to Earn 110,000 Points

Link: 110,000 Point Bonus Offer (Must have an LLC or S-Corp)


I haven't been writing much about travel recently, for reasons that are probably obvious. Travel doesn't exist at the moment! At least not in the same way it used to.

But it will again, especially with all that we've learned in the past year and vaccination well underway. I'm convinced that when it does, there will be some amazing deals and opportunities.

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Do This When You Visit a New Place

ender-vatan-2_wSj_4osX0-unsplash Pandemic life has taught many of us to appreciate moments in life that might otherwise pass us by. I've been trying to pause and take note of how I feel at the end of the day, often as I walk in the park or one of my nearby neighborhoods.

With that in mind, here's a tip inspired by The Art of Stopping Time, a book by Pedram Shojai: whenever you visit a place that's new to you, consider the sense that you might never be there again.

Just imagine: this might be it! Your only opportunity in one lifetime to visit this particular place. How might this make you feel?

What, you say you aren't traveling much now? That's okay.

This "new place" could be anywhere: a part of the woods you've never seen on your next nature hike, for example, or even a street in your neighborhood you've never driven before. The point is to create awareness and appreciation.

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New Travel Hacking Offers: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Points & More


Greetings from paradise, also known as Australia.

I started writing this post from one of my favorite places in the world: the balcony of my room at Park Hyatt Sydney (check out this photo of the sunrise!). I’m staying here with points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, my #1 recommendation for travel rewards cards.

Normally the room would cost $900 a night (!), but naturally my cost is ... $0. I’ve been here over and over, usually at least once a year, and every stay has been “funded” through my points from this card.

And it’s not just here. All over the world, I’ve been able to fly and stay for nearly free, all thanks to the wonders of travel hacking.

All of this is possible for you, too! Or at least it is for many of our readers, who regularly write in to tell me about how they used their points for amazing experiences of their own.

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5 First Steps for Travel Hacking

If you’re new to this blog, one of the things I write about is travel hacking—the art of having incredible experiences that would otherwise be unobtainable for most people.

It’s a bit different from budget travel, which tends to focus on staying on hostels, flying on low-cost carriers (LCCs), etc. Travel hacking can not only help you travel, it can help you travel better.

I stumbled on this world by accident. I just wanted to learn to travel for less, and then I got upgraded on a transatlantic flight. When it happened again a year later, I was hooked. Then a couple years later, I began my quest to visit every country in the world.

Travel hacking allowed this experience to be much, much cheaper. I can say with confidence that a full third of the 11-year project was either free or nearly free thanks to miles and points.

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Couple Uses Southwest Companion Pass to Save $3,800 and Take 14 Free Flights

Link: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

I’ve mentioned the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass a couple times over the years. In short, if you’re able to get it—by earning 110,000 qualifying points in a year—a companion of your choice can fly with you for nearly free (just pay the taxes on their ticket) for an entire year.

Here’s a fun story from Annabelle and Christian, two students from last year's Dream Trip course, that have used their Companion Pass to take more than a dozen free flights so far.

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Brand New: Get 50,000 Southwest Airlines Points with the Just-Announced “Plus” Card

Link: 50,000 Rapid Rewards Points (Brand New Offer)

Out of the blue—we just heard yesterday—Southwest Airlines has introduced an all-new awards card, the Southwest Airlines Plus.

This card offers a a 50,000 point bonus after a low $2,000 minimum spend. Southwest also promises that these points will count toward Southwest's always-popular Companion Pass, where you can take the companion of your choice with you on every trip for an entire year.

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Get 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points ($1,000+ Value) from a Brand-New Offer

Link: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points

Long, long ago, I wrote about my adventures in buying gift cards at Office Depot. It took a lot of schlepping back and forth, but I earned at least 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points from the effort. (I was then able to fly Business Class to South Africa and Switzerland from this points, so it was well worth it.)

As of this week, you can now earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points with a lot less effort. Chase has debuted an all-new card, the Ink Business Preferred, which offers the 80,000 points as a signup bonus.

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7 Ways to Get Started Earning Points & Miles for Free Travel

Hey everyone! Lots of new people are reading the blog lately, and I’ve been getting a bunch of questions about some travel hacking basics.

Here are a few notes for everyone who’s just started.

I originally started travel hacking as a means to see the world without spending a lot of money. I didn’t have a lot of money, and I also had a long list of places to go. Over the next decade, I had countless adventures all enabled through the world of miles and points.

I could have seen the world without ever using Frequent Flyer miles, but it definitely would have been much more expensive, and probably a lot less fun.

Here are seven things you should do to get started.

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How to Travel to Random Places and Work on a Project

Greetings from the sky, on board Cathay Pacific’s longest flight. There are 16 hours scheduled for my “air world” time today, although it looks like we may arrive one hour early.

I love flights like these. I’ve already taken a three-hour nap (hey, I was tired) and am now up to work for several hours while I drink espresso and Perrier. It’s dark outside now, but eventually the sun will come up in-flight. A few more hours later I’ll land in Hong Kong, a full 12-hour time difference from where I left. Travel is life.

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Get 175,000 Points + $500 in Travel Rewards from Business Cards

Link: Enhanced Business Platinum Card

Link: Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card

Link: SimplyCash Plus Business Card ($500 Credit)

Once again, it’s raining points and miles—a bunch of new travel hacking offers have hit the market all at once, offering you the chance to earn up to 175,000 miles (or more depending on how you count it) and an additional $500.

There's been some confusion about all these AmEx offers, so I thought I’d break down the most attractive ones and also clarify something. Let’s start with the clarification: these are marketed as business card offers, but if you’re eligible for U.S. credit cards, you’re probably eligible to get at least one of these.

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How to Buy Plane Tickets on the Same Day of Departure

Have you ever been frustrated when looking for an award ticket with your frequent flyer miles, only to be thoroughly disappointed that almost nothing is available? Chances are, you were looking during the same time period that most people do.

The traditional advice of booking “far, far in advance”—sometimes even 330 days out or whenever the airline releases seats into inventory is incomplete. This does work in some cases. Most of us, though, have absolutely no idea where and exactly when we want to fly an entire year from now. I mean, I don’t even know where I’m flying next week … and even if you’re not as bad as me, planning for specific flights a year into the future is tough.

That’s why you need different ninja skills.

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What’s In Your Carry-On? 6 Things That Keep Me Comfortable and Productive on the Road

Nate wrote in to ask me about my travel packing strategy:

My burning question for you right now is what are your essential items that keep you comfortable and productive while you travel (virtual or real)? How has this list changed over time - or has it even changed since you published your first book?

My answer is that it’s changed a little over time, but not by much. When it comes to travel, I’m a creature of habit and routine. I take the same things with me everywhere I go, and everything fits in a single carry-on bag + my laptop bag (never check luggage!).

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17 Travel Hacking Tips for People Who Value Their Time and Sanity

This is a special post from Austin Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Check out his free 10-lesson course called “Better Credit in 10 Days.”

After reading the Frequent Flyer Master guide in December 2010, I scored two $20 tickets to Honolulu. Travel hacking was amazing, and I was hooked.

But a lot has changed since then. My wife Megan and I now have two children. During working hours—which is to say waking hours—I split my time between a startup called Closeup.fm, and the marketing consultancy that pays my bills, Wunderbar LLC.

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How to Earn 250,000 Frequent Flyer Miles in a Year: An Action Plan

In a previous post I explained how to kickstart your experience with miles and points that can be used for free travel. A lot of new readers (hey, new readers!) said this was helpful, so I wanted to delve into some more details.

As mentioned in that post, you don’t have to spend hours upon hours tracking deals and immersing yourself in forums. By setting aside just a few minutes each month, you should be able to earn more than enough miles to go anywhere in the world within a year or less.

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