Travel Hacking Success Stories

Travel Hacking Success Stories
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#21

I paid for most of my honeymoon in 2014 with Chase UR and Citi ThankYou points. The UR points came from a Chase Ink Plus signup bonus and the ThankYou points were from a Thank You Premier sign up bonus. Somehow, I got a TON of value with the UR points with the hotel we picked.

I booked 4 nights at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Resort. 4 nights only cost 64,724 points even though the rooms were at least $250/night on the cheapest travel site I could find. I have no idea why the Chase booking portal gave me such a great rate. It was really weird because there were actually multiple booking options for that resort with one of the options matching the marriott.com price exactly and the other being the one I booked saving me hundreds of $$$ in points.

Now I always check the UR portal for all my travel bookings just in case. Usually it only works out for big savings on rental cars these days, not hotels as much. But sometimes you’ll find a deal on their portal.


#22

I used to read thepointsguy and the last couple of years it feels like a shill for CC sign-ups. He hid the fact he was a starwood ‘spokeperson’ for quite some time…add in they weren’t directing you to the truly BEST cc, but to the one which gave them the best referral fees. If you’re new, sure…read-up, and he’s staffed-up nicely to bring those monthly reviews of values, etc. But, overall, I stopped reading as the bloggers tend towards the same main/major stories and if there is a good tidbit, it’s picked-up by not long after.

-2 cents


#23

There’s still good info in the blogs, but you want to read them via RSS. You can quickly scan the headlines to exclude duplicates or obvious shill posts for cards you already know about, then save interesting stuff to read later. Plus, it strips all the bloated junk off and just shows you the text and photos. You can scan a dozen or so blogs while your having your first cup of coffee.

The headline is usually all you need to know anyway, i.e. “Awards to Xxx wide open” or “Alaska now bookable via Singapore miles” etc.


#24

I have been mostly into cash bonuses up until ~2014ish, and then one day I discovered FWF thread on SW cards and decided to open one. 50k bonus from that card allowed me to take several RT flights, at which point I recognized the value of points and decided to get more involved into the points game. Since then I’ve built up six digit point stashes in the most popular programs, but I only use points when it makes sense and I can get good value out of them. I am generally a budget traveler, so I am not interested in getting 5+ cents per point redemption by booking a RT to Europe in Business or First, so a lot of times I pay cash for international travel. I did take a Business class flight to Europe this summer, but that’s only because econ was not available and the business class ticket ended up costing me well under 40k Citi TY points while I’d have to spend at least $800-900 for a similar itinerary in Econ. I’ve been also pretty successful with redeeming SPG points for their Cat 2 properties which run 3000-4000 pts. So far this year I’ve been able to redeem 23000 points for 6 night in hotels that would cost ~$100/night + taxes and fees.

My advice to those in the CC bonus game is not to wait til you’re out of 5/24 and similar restrictions, and take good bonuses from the issuers as they become available and you qualify for them. At the rate changes to the bonuses were happening in the past two years or so I’d not be surprised if I’ll end up being under 5/24 in 3-4 years just because I’ll not be eligible for any of the good cards.


#25

My first post so please bear with me. I am currently doing a Marriott plat. challenge (9 stays in 90 days) and I am basically doing a mattress run (in my case cost is justified in terms of SPG plat and UA silver benefits). I budgeted $100/night and with 20% discount with marriott GC, I was looking around ~$700 to get the marriott status.
Look no further LNF guarantee came to the rescue. LNF is kind of best rate match for marriott. I usually pull up the rates on my mobile phone couple of days before my actual stay and expedia always give me 10% or cheaper rates than on marriott website. At which point, just send a rate adjustment email to marriott team and so far I have had a good luck in matching and lowering the rates by 25%.
Also just google the property on your mobile phone on chrome and it will give you the rates for the entire month to select the days you want to do the mattress runs. Screen grab of what I am talking about. Just select more rates under the calendar and click the start end.

Also I hate that the first post links to TPG and MMS, the worst travel shilling sites for even average FWF crowd.