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Buy One Wedding, Get a Honeymoon Free

One time I went to Dubai for my honeymoon, except it wasn’t really my honeymoon. I was traveling with Stephanie, my longtime friend, travel hacking colleague, and frequent travel companion. Even though she is basically a member of my family, Stephanie and I aren’t partners in the romantic sense—which occasionally leads to humorous encounters when we travel.

For some reason, our hotel in Dubai had gotten the idea that it was our honeymoon. When they assigned us a luxury three-bedroom apartment as our room, we may have failed to correct their impression. We did, however, express our gratitude for the free champagne they also gave us.

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Limited Time: Earn Up to 180,000 Hilton Points with Special Offers

Link: Get 100,000 Hilton Points (with $75 annual fee)
Link: Get 80,000 Hilton Points (with no annual fee)

There's big news in the travel hacking world this week: a limited-time offer to earn a lot of hotel points has arrived. 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 even better one that gets you a whopping 100,000 Hilton points. Yeah, no kidding!

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Couple Earns 1.8 Million Frequent Flyer Miles, Sets Out to Visit 100 Countries

Nate Buchanan and his wife Kara had been talking about traveling for years. They finally stopped discussing and started planning. Before they left, they travel hacked their way to 1.8 million frequent flyer miles, which they’re using to travel to 100 countries.

I had been mildly obsessed with the idea of full-time travel for a few years. But in January of 2015 we were sitting at Dairy Queen, and something was different about this conversation. We were seriously discussing what it would take to make it a reality, and not just dreaming about "what ifs."

It’s so easy to discuss theoretically. Reality is, there's never an easy time, and we finally realized that there would never be an easier time than right now. We don’t have kids, we rented an apartment, and both of us were in a position where stepping away from our jobs wouldn’t be the end of the world. We finally decided we would take 2016 to travel full-time and see as much of the world as possible before we settled down.

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Earn 430,000 Miles from the Best Current Travel Card Offers

Every year I earn well over one million Frequent Flyer miles and points. About 250,000 of them come through actual travel, but 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. When managed carefully (i.e., you pay your bills on time), there's no downside and you can keep the miles coming for a long time.

We've had a bunch of new offers recently, and it's been a while since I've done a roundup. This post contains the best current card offers. If getting each one, you'd earn 430,000 miles!

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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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“If you’re going to spend the money anyway, you might as well get something out of it.”

Ediza Ferris is serious about travel hacking, and it pays off. A recent trip took her and her husband from the States through Sydney to Dubai—where they were whisked from the presidential hotel suite to the First Class lounge via private chauffeur. Ediza is truly hacking her way to incredible experiences thanks to the world of miles and points.

I started traveling when I was young, around age 5 or 6. My parents immigrated to the States from the Philippines and we've always made steady trips back and forth to go back and see family.

I took the opportunity when I was 16 to study abroad for the summer in a theater program. It wasn't until then where I realized the world was so much bigger than myself, and so much older than how it's described in the history books.

Since then, I've wanted to see more, eat differently, and discover anything new so that I can piece together for myself what this world is actually made of.

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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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Hacking European Budget Airlines: Learn From An Expat’s Experience

When American expat Julie Smith moved to the UK, she imagined endless jaunts around Europe, weekends exploring foreign cities and spontaneous day trips to Paris. Faced with a limited budget and a need to get creative, she discovered the glorious world of budget airlines and has been a loyal fan ever since.

Ultra low fare airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet changed the landscape of flying in Europe when they were created in the 1990s. They introduced the lowest fares anyone had seen, especially compared to British Airways, Aer Lingus, and the other government subsidized airlines, advertising tickets for as low as £1 plus tax.

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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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New Opportunities in Travel Hacking: Free 30-Minute Presentation

Link: Free Travel Hacking Presentation

My inbox has been crowded with a lot of traveling readers asking the same questions. Some people are worried and others are just confused. Why?

Well, if you’ve been travel hacking for a while, you know that a few things have changed recently. There’s a big 100,000 point offer, but a) it’s expensive, and b) a lot of people can’t get it. One of the main card issuers now has a “5/24” rule, meaning that you can’t get any new cards if you’ve applied for more than 4 in the past two years.

At the same time, there are a lot of promising new offers—so what should you do? In a free upcoming presentation, I’ll tell you exactly what you need to know.

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Another Bonus Offer: 50,000 American Express Points Now Available

Link: 50,000 Points Up for Grabs

Last week I mentioned an upgraded bonus offer in the world of travel hacking. There’s one more that I left out while I was doing some travel hacking myself, flying off to Barcelona, Doha, and London.

For a limited time, the American Express Gold Card is offering a 50,000 point signup bonus. Last week, if you applied for the card, you’d get 40,000 points. Not bad… but this week, you’ll get 50,000 points from the same offer. Hint: this one is better. 😃

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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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Special Offer: Get a $500 Travel Rebate for Hotels, Airfare, & More

Link: Special Offer: Get $500 in Travel Credit

For a limited time, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus Mastercard is offering a $500 travel rebate after spending $3,000 in the first three months of having the card. The annual fee of $89 is waived for the first year.

This card is a bit different from some of the other ones I write about. It’s a travel rebate card, meaning that you’ll earn “credit” toward travel purchases. Once you’ve earned credit, nearly anything you charge on the card that relates to travel can be refunded. “Travel” is a big, all-encompassing category, including airfare, hotels, Airbnb, trains, car rentals—basically however you like to travel.

If it sounds complicated, it’s not: all you need to know is that you’ll get $500 to spend on travel however you’d like.

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