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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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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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Travelers: 100,000 Point Signup Bonus Is Now Available

Link: 100,000 Point Bonus (!): New Chase Sapphire Preferred Reserve Card

Big news: my favorite credit card for travelers has been upgraded and now offers a huge 100,000 point bonus. The original card is still available (and it’s still great), but for many people, this new one is even better.

You'll receive the 100,000 points bonus after completing a $4,000 minimum spend in four months. There’s a $450 annual fee, but this is offset by a $300 credit for anything you spend on travel—and you can earn the credit every calendar year, meaning that in the first year you'll essentially get a $600 credit.

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Huge Deal: Get Up to 75,000 JetBlue Points (No Credit Card Required!)

This is a really great deal that will help a lot of people. Here’s the one-minute, short version:

  1. JetBlue will GIVE YOU up to 75,000 points, just for sending them a screenshot and taking a single round-trip flight before the end of August
  2. If you have any number of Virgin America points, you’ll get them matched simply for completing the above (up to 75,000 points in total; more on that in a moment)
  3. If you don’t have any Virgin America points, it’s not that hard to get them—and then you can get all those free JetBlue points
  4. The 75,000 JetBlue points are easily worth $900, so it’s definitely worth doing if you can. And even if you can’t get the maximum, well, it’s free points!

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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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