Miles

Christmas Shopping: Travel Hacking Edition

Ready for Christmas??  If you celebrate this particular holiday, you can often feel like it’s all about buying presents, and has very little to do with the actual ‘spirit’ of Christmas.

I’m all for the spirit, it’s about giving, right?  Now, I try to ensure the gifts I give are actually useful for the recipients.  Or something thoughtful and sentimental.  If I can hit both targets, even better!  I just don’t believe in giving useless gifts.  And I can’t stand getting something that I’ll never use.  I just hate to see people lose out on their money for something I won’t use, you know?

Christmas is such a corporate holiday, anyway.  It’s just as bad as Black Friday, but hidden under a cloak of candy canes and hot chocolate.  At least we see Black Friday for what it is when people are fighting in the aisles over a new TV.

Takes a deep breath…

Ok, sorry about that.  Rant over.  No matter how you feel about Christmas, make sure you’re getting yourself a little something too!  For me, that means the kickbacks from shopping portals!

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Earning Virgin America Miles with AirBnB

I love new partnerships between companies I use!

And although this one isn’t new, it’s great.  AirBnB is a fantastic option for lodging while you’re travelling.  Usually the cost comes in low, and it offers a bit more local flair to your journey.  We’ve used AirBnB in Peru, and then again in Mexico (twice!).  All three times, I’ve been happy with the process, and with our hosts.

If you’re keeping up with travel hacking news, you’ve been able top earn Virgin America points on AirBnB bookings for the past year or so.  Using my recent Mexico bookings, I decided to figure out the process, and a time frame for it.

Here’s what I did:

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Mexico: The Details

If you’ve been following along thus far, you know we had a great time exploring the Yucatan Peninsula a few weeks ago.  True to form, I couldn’t just have fun…I had to get home and analyze the entire trip.  But let’s be honest, this is part of the fun for me anyway. (more…)

Booking Southwest Flights

Lately, I luv Southwest.  I’ve had great service recently and plenty of good experiences with the carrier.  With my Companion Pass on the horizon, that is, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be flying them even more in the next two years.

Speaking of Companion Passes…I should have an update for you in the next week or two.  Fingers crossed!

With all the practice I’m getting booking Southwest flights, I thought a little tutorial might be helpful.  Southwest’s website is fairly user-friendly, in my opinion, but I hope this information is still helpful!

This post is especially timely, since Southwest is currently having a sale!  Book by tomorrow (June 9th), and fly from most of September to December.  If you don’t have time to book by then, don’t worry.  Southwest runs these sales all the time.  I try to wait until Southwest is having these “flash” sales to book domestic flights, as I know the next sale will be right around the corner.  Want to know when the next sale is?  Just sign up for Southwest’s emails, they’ll be more than happy to drop you a note!

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I’ll take a boarding pass with a side of miles, please.

Back to the travel hacking bit..

I’m still very much in the accumulation phase.  As you read more about the game, you’ll see different types of folks.  Earn & Burn type people rack up points and then jet off to somewhere far away as soon as they have the points for the trip.  Some people get all their points through clever spending.  Some just take a vacation once a year with their miles, and accumulate very steadily, over time.

Me?

I’m a bit of a hoarder at the moment.  Now, eventually I’ll be able to get to see the world, but for now, I’m content to watch my frequent flyer accounts grow.

As you know, I was able to get down to North Carolina for a weekend recently.  I love to crunch the numbers, and see how I did, what I could maximize, and how best to travel hack.  By reviewing each trip, I’m able to improve and learn more about this hobby, and you know what they say:  knowledge is travel.

Or power, or something like that..

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First Impressions: Chase Southwest Plus

I took a break from my “First Impressions” posts on my new credit cards, as I thought they were starting to get repetitive.  Apply.  Get card.  Spend $$$.  Get miles.  Travel.

Obviously, credit cards don’t differ heavily from one to the next on the surface.  Sure, there’s a few different networks, different airlines partner with different banks, and then there’s fixed-value card, hotel cards, airline cards.  But they’re all the same shape.  Most are plastic.  All your cards will turn around and bite you if you’re not careful.

While reviewing some of the data on my posts, I realized the First Impressions category was quite a hit  Don’t worry, I use that term very loosely.  By “hit,” I mean that you know, a handful of people clicked on it.  The Southwest Premier vs. Personal post was particularly well-received.

So, this one is for you credit card nerds!

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So what are airline miles anyway?

I spent some time the other day reading through some old posts…

Jeez, miles this, miles that.  I talk about points and miles an awful lot, and never really get into what a “mile” is.  Sure we all know a mile is 5,280 feet.  But what about AAdvantage miles?  Or Rapid Rewards points miles?  Which one’s worth more?

Then there’s SkyMiles, and MileagePlus miles, and Avios, and Guest Miles.  The list goes on and on.

So what is a mile exactly?

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