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Make Your Dream Trip a Reality

Lesson 9 of 32

Earn 300,000 Miles or More in a Single Day

Chris Guillebeau, Stephanie Zito

Make Your Dream Trip a Reality

Chris Guillebeau, Stephanie Zito

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Lesson Info

9. Earn 300,000 Miles or More in a Single Day

Lesson Info

Earn 300,000 Miles or More in a Single Day

In our workbooks now we're on page twenty four and we have learned so much this week about how tow earn points and miles how do you how to get you closer to paying for your dream trip that you might not have ever thought you possibly able to? You thought you never thought you might ever possibly able to take again anyhow. So today we're gonna look at how to earn more than three hundred miles in a single day more than three hundred, three hundred thousand miles to wear at the end of week to hear more than wakened before week three starts. So today's goals before we break for the weekend, we're going to ramp up your cards for maximum miles. We're going to master minimum spend for your sign of bonuses, and we're gonna help you learn how to track all those credit cards that maybe you're applying for now. So two years ago, I had been earning sign up bonuses, maybe for five years or so, I had the starwood card. We talked about a couple of lessons ago, I had maybe a few other credit cards, an...

d I was doing pretty well, it was helping me, I was on this quest to visit every country in the world, and I just had this crazy idea. I was like, what if I can get more cards and I don't like to do anything halfway and I was like I wonder how many cards there are that are possible at the time there were thirteen credit cards that you know actually offered good mileage bonuses and I decided to apply for them all in a single day and that time I hadn't seen anybody else who had done this before probably some people had but I decided to go and do that and document the whole story for my readers because as soon as I said I was going to do this of course everyone was like what you're going to destroy your life you're going to wreck your credit you'll be homeless and in the streets you know, with a big credit line you know that work but I went and did that and I got you know, some of these credit cards that you can see here and first of all I was surprised because I was accepted for just about every single card that I applied for this was like at the height of the economic recession so I don't know what that says about the world but and you know, I'm self employed I've never had a job so it's not like I'm responsible or anything but I got all those credit cards I earned three hundred thousand miles in points it wasn't a single day took a little you know a few weeks to kind of meet all the requirements and figure things out but it worked and my credit score dropped by a few percentage points maybe four five percent and over time it actually went up so one year later actually had a higher credit score than when I started and I share that story with my readers and lots of other people a taste from my community began looking more seriously at earning you know, mileage earning credit cards and some people replicated this experiment in their own way some people applied for ten cards or fifteen cards or whatever and I kept hearing lots of interesting stories about it and I continue to replicate this experiment every year or two just to show people what's possible not to say that everyone should go out and do it exactly that way but just to say you know if you're looking for a lot of miles and points here's what I did here's what my results were and other people have had the same experience so we hear lots of great stories from people who have similar experiences or maybe have done something in their own way we really loved this story this one story caught our attention we heard from someone who earned a huge amount of miles and points he's going to tell us all about it so we've invited him to join us today from san francisco how are you there yes, I am. Can you hear me? Hey, what's up. Yeah, good how's life uh, good it's been about four, five months since I last saw you in your bookstore in san francisco. That's right? Just been working and traveling a lot. That's going to be fun, right? Cool. Excellent. So I think you first came to our attention when we heard your story. Maybe it was the first big story of how you earned how many miles and points was it? Well, by the time I finished college, I had earned probably about three million miles. It's okay, if I time you finish college three million miles, so I don't know if you can see our audience, but their audiences is lapping and they're like super interesting. So can you tell us a little bit about how this started? Sure. So I started collecting miles in full earnest, probably about may of two thousand eleven. So that was the end of my freshman year of college and I actually learned about credit cards and miles through my first summer internship. It was at a small little company in new york and the founder of this company was building a loyalty program or small businesses in the city in manhattan, and the premise behind it was that if you shopped at the local bookstore in the coffee shop, you would earn these universal currents this universal currency that you could use to redeem for awards that anyone of participating businesses and so part of my job was to actually research loyalty programs ok by my boss he was actually miles collector too, so he kind of feeding me all these like logs and that's how I was introduced to christen the first base t was like, oh, you're definitely check this guy out like he writes a lot about it just take a look and so that whole summer I learned about miles points and by september but that's when I got back to school I had like my star worked hard I chase freedom just a bunch of different credit cards and it's burning miles at one hundred miles an hour literally probably more than that actually. So hey sorry start interrupting so you said you had a couple of of cards at that point, which is great and pretty normal, but how did you go from a couple of cards you know at age twenty or whatever? Two to the three million miles in points like a couple of years later? Yeah, so I didn't really have a credit when I was just starting in this kind of hobby, so I had to get a student credit card first so after about six months that's when my credit score was strong enough to start applying for cards that it's got fifty thousand one hundred thousand miles in one sign up and so within six months I had signed up for I think three or four of these fifty thousand cards and using the kind of methodology that you, you know, write a lot about within the first I think by december of that year I had enough miles basically go anywhere and how where did where did you go with some of these first miles? What was kind of the motivation of travel that made you want to start collecting these miles? Well, the thing was, I was always I always love travel, but it was so inaccessible, especially at my age, but what miles gave it was not only resource is but flexibility to travel as often as I did I remember I think thanksgiving a sophomore year I went to school on the east coast, I'm from the bay area and I had two options either I can go home or I could go to europe and with my miles he was about the same cost and so I just went to europe for thanksgiving for like four or five days and all my friends thought I was crazy for that trip fantastic and didn't you have some big goal that you wanted to? You had some big goal you wanted to travel to six continents or something while you were in college one thing that I really learned when I was a student because I had so much free time and I really wanted to leverage that while still in school and so I made it a goal too goto six continents by the end of my superior and of my last concert it was south america for the world cup and so I kind of hit that milestone consumers like aggravated and you used miles and points for most of those trips ninety five percent of trips or miles I would only buy fights if like cash cost was really cheap for example I'm going to beijing at our next month rather on like a piss take care american airlines business class for like, four fantastic yeah that's a great deal we haven't even talked about mistake bears yet, so we'll have to hit those up at some point. Maybe you alluded to this a little bit. What what what did your family and friends think about all this like you were you the guy in college who had three million miles? Did they ask you anything about it? Well, I never wrote about it or spoken publicly about it. You have no uh so I always kind of alluded to like oh, hey, guys, my friends in college like you should definitely gets more points of miles here the ways to do it uh probably about ninety percent of my friends always dismissed the ideas from miles and points its kind of very hard to conceptualize, especially my generation. When you're talking about credit, we kind of lived through the financial crisis. We had a really bad perspective, uh, credit as full and so people really, really afraid of of it. And thankfully, I had that kind of initial just foundation of learning about what? How credit works, how little programs work and it's been a fun ride ever since my my friends, I get it, you love it. I actually work in a trap, you know, and all I called starting on it. How? And I family, of course I my parents, I thought everything they just came back from a trip to asia you were staying in like the park hyatt questions and w a knife. Did you teach them how to do that? Uh, they got the idea, but I still you took everything from your parents. That's good. Fantastic. So how what's next for you? We're going to use your points amounts to travel next. Yeah. So I've actually had a next week to paris can dreams. Our host wants to go to paris. Can you give her some of your three miles million miles? Unfortunately, I can assure you, it's very you heard miles gets paris one of the easier destinations to get to actually that's amazing how this is such a fun story. I really want to thank you for coming on creative live and sharing that with home with everybody. Thank you so much. Thank you, it's not great! I love to just kind of talk to him directly because I I tell his story a lot, but I don't always remember all the details and so to hear it from him, about how he did it and how this is affected, his life and how he has these opportunities and he was on the east coast and he could have gone home to the west coast. He was like, I'm just going to go to europe, it's great. So you know, that's a story that kind of represents what this is about for us, it's not just about learning all these miles and points like it's, a great headline here in three million miles in points, but to me, I think what I get excited about is what he's doing with it, and now his family was in asia, as he mentioned, he books all of their hotels so that's, why we love this whole crazy world so one thing we didn't talk about in the interview with him, but a couple of lessons ago and briefly alluded to this concept of minimum spend and so minimum spend is a commitment you have to make before you get the bonus with a lot of these different credit cards so often the minimum spend is something like a thousand dollars if you get you know this chase sapphire card it's something like a thousand you have to make the minimum stand within ninety days and then they credit the bonus sometimes it can be three thousand dollars and occasionally for like a business card it can be a little bit more so people often ask us like how is this possible? How can you do it? So we have some tips about it even if you don't normally spend a lot on your credit card every month there's a few things you can do there's a few things from kind of apprentice level two rock star level so the first thing is to make sure that you're using that card as much as possible to channel any existing expenses house repairs we had a story about that yesterday uh rent utilities anything at any upcoming expenses if there's anything that you can pre pay the new computer any holiday shopping anything that needs to be done that's coming up you got this card might as well try to meet that commitment. If you own your own business, you may be able to pre pay some expenses is well, I try to do that in my own business. Just kind of front loading some things to take care of stuff for various commitments. Whenever I have a minimum spend to meet, you can also make business travel work for you. I think you have a great story. When you were living in asia, I do. I actually have two stories. I want to tell you first about the upcoming expenses. I always try to think about what big things do I have coming up. And we talked about this briefly in a couple lessons ago, but I actually bought my car using my credit card and I I have a two thousand one raft for which is why I could buy it on my credit card. But I was going to pay cash for my car, and I bought it at a car dealership and I asked the car dealership, can I actually pay for this using my credit card? And so I actually spent five. They said yes, you khun you can put up to five thousand dollars on your credit card. So before I bought that car, I I knew this is the perfect time to apply for a new credit card because I don't make a lot of money, I don't spend a lot of money so it's hard for me to meet a minimum spend three thousand dollars or you no on some of the business cards, the minimum spends even up to five thousand dollars. This was a perfect opportunity, so I got the new card. Then I went to the car dealership paid for my card car with my credit card, and then I paid the bank before that ever posted on my credit card, so I don't recommend buying a car on your credit card unless you have the money to pay for it, but when you have a big, big purchase like that coming up, it's always a really good time to think like, how can I plan a mileage bonus with that? And, you know, making business travel work for you, it really doesn't matter what kind of business you're in. I work in the humanitarian world, mostly, and I was living in asia for the past the past three years, and what I would do is I would plan to get a new credit card and I had very low business expenses, but I was skin no flying and traveling and staying in hotels, and I would I would take the new credit card I got, and I would use that credit card. For all of my business expenses, I would be reimbursed for those expenses, and I would use that credit card up until the point where I met that minimum spend. And then I would apply for a new one, and my ongoing business expenses really covered all of those minimum spends and allowed me to earn points and miles. So whenever I had, you know, a week, uh, holiday, I got to fly somewhere really, really amazing. So you can really make minimum spends work for you if you can think about any big expenses that you have coming up and, you know, there's, always different, unconventional solutions. We heard nathan story last week about he how he used his credit card to pay for his bathroom renovation and then got to fly first class to hong kong. Chris has a great story about how he used a business expense to run a zoo. Yeah, a couple years ago, I had to rent a zoo. I don't know if anybody's ever done this year myself, but, you know, I produced this annual event called world domination summit. I think some of you may have been in a lot of our online dears, wds. Eso actually rented out the zoo for our opening party, a w e s twenty thirteen, I believe. And I get this enormous invoice for the cost of zoo it comes in, and it doesn't actually say, like, you can pay by credit card on it, it just says, like here's the, you know, address where you submit this large payment and I just called them and I said, you know, is american express okay? And they're like, okay? And I'm like, great, so I put the zoo, you know, on my amex and maybe the lesson isn't you know, everyone can go out and rent a zoo, but the lesson is, like there's often another way there's an unconventional solution like stephanie's trump, you know, story. Oh, or whatever is going on in your life, there may be something in your strategic and you kind of plan for it. There is a way to meet that man and then spend were going to tell you a creative one. Did you have something? But I was actually curious if if anybody had any other unconventional show that screwed because people like pay tuition or say, a friend of mine knows she has to go it's a dental work done, and so she just got a card and that's how she's going to meet the minimum spend, so I'm just curious if anyone's done that yeah actually I had got rear ended so I had to get some work done on my car so that's why I opened up my chase sapphire preferred I was like, oh, there we go there's my my insurance is gonna pay me so I figured you know I'll take that money and then I use my card and meet my minimum spin that way because he'll be around four thousand dollars okay, great. So four thousand dollars of car repairs essentially that's great earlier lesson you talked about the happy hour comping so you get people in that rhythm it's another way to add on top you know, in terms of finding mackley unconventionally any other stories I work for was a small company but they like did like purchased huge amounts of like assets before before the season and so they didn't have like a credit card to buy any of that stuff, so I just said, ok, I'll do it we had to max out our limit beyond anything I've ever known way just did it and then paid it down with out of our savings and we're set financing the company but it worked out for us for points but it's a great story that's really good, maybe one more you had something strategy um I'm not sure if it's really ethical but what you could do is you can make it before dark big credit cards like the business a mix for sample you we spent five grand on it so you could buy something and then once you get the points, you can transfer to airplane and returned item. Okay, that's kind of a black hat kind of secret. Next week, we're talking about booking your flight, and we're going to have this whole lesson about, like things the airlines don't want you to know, it's, like we're gonna talk about some black hat kind of secret, so that would be in your black hat way next week. So, hey, while we're having this conversation, what I've got up here on the screen, manufactured, spend, raise your hand if you've ever heard of this concepts scott and lend and no one else, okay, this is kind of a fun thing in our in our last creative life. Of course, we talked a little bit about this, and we talked about this product called bluebeard cards, and ever since that course, we have been getting e mails still like every week from people who watch the course. Tell us more about this, so the bluebirds try to deal with something that was relevant than it is no longer relevant now, but maybe the broader kind of definition of manufactured spend isa way to use your credit card to essentially by money at face value and there have been a few different ways to do this. It continues to change all the time the bluebird cards tried t was about buying gifts, cards and you would go and buy a five hundred dollar gift card. Then you could deposit that gift card in your bank account. You all of a sudden you got five hundred dollars, you know in miles and points, and you've got the exact money there's something that's happening right now, at least to the time of this filming the time of his boot camp. The target prepaid card is a really big thing in the world of manufactured spend, and if you're able to get this card it's not available in every target it's on ly at select targets, but if you can get it, then you can use it at any target, at least in the united states. And once you have this card, you can load up to five thousand dollars a month on this card using any credit card or any debit card at any target and then there's no fee cost zero dollars no fees whatsoever, no merchant fees and then you can withdraw that money to your account immediately. So this is the way to actually do five thousand dollars a month per person if you're doing this with two people with the partner spouse ten thousand dollars a month so five thousand dollars a month times twelve is weii spent like ten minutes on this last night sixty sixty thousand miles and points so that's one thing we don't want to spend a long time talking about each specific opportunity because because it kind of comes and goes this has been available for a few months if you're watching this a few months down the road, this one may not be available to you, but if you're curious about this if you like, this is interesting like this is sounds like a fun thing, you know, to really learn how about this forums like we talked about a few lessons ago flyertalk mile point red it has a whole thread on this target issue and once that's gone, there'll be something else there, and they also have forms on manufactured spend as a topic so when the target offer goes away, which I'm sure it will go away very soon as soon as his more mainstream because it always does. But something always comes to take its place. And if you're following manufactured spend in any of these forums or any of these points and miles logs that we've talked about it, you'll be able to keep up with what the latest and greatest thing is right that's great, so if you're watching right now, this opportunity may be of interest to you if you're watching later there's gonna be something else, right? So you can also check out on the dream trip facebook group. We're gonna have a little conversation about it, their travel hacking cartel, we kind of keep people updated on whatever the latest and greatest deal is in that regard. So we don't get too much into all the details of that because it's also kind of a rabbit hole like we use that phrase a couple of lessons ago, but it is something that can help a lot of people, especially if you're getting a lot of credit cards. You know you can easily plan your minimum spend if you're getting one credit card, but if you're applying for three or four credit cards at a time and you have to spend twelve thousand dollars in three months, a concept like this really, really can help you. Excellent. And I think we have worked with activity for the day on page twenty four in the work twenty four in the workbook s o we talked up to how about how he's earned, what three million miles in points before he graduated college? I didn't do that great, I just did like a hundred thousand a day questions, how could you earn three hundred thousand miles in a whole year? You know, while still maintaining a safe conservative application strategy and keeping your reports credit score high identified current cards with signing bonuses that could get you there, if you're following along online, you may have access to the workbook, you could do it, or otherwise, you could just join in without us, you can go to cards for travel, dot com and get an idea of what those cards are that are there excellent, so we have a challenge, but before I go to that, do you want to ask if there's any questions on what we've discussed in this lesson, and perhaps even not just questions, but maybe even that the assigned sort of that people have if anybody had gotten to a few things that they're going to try and you want to share that, that would be it would be great. Well, absolutely, yeah, way had a little bit from your friend john, and but I didn't I didn't, I don't know if I caught exactly how he built up, so, like millions of points like, I know he got he started off with the sign up bonuses, but then was just consistently the same, like strategies that you guys used, or is it something in particular, that's, that's a great question, I'm pretty sure it was mostly sign up bonus driven I'm pretty sure he just got a lot of cards there there is a season in which and this kind of comes and go there is a season in which there were a lot of really high high bonuses there was a season in which there is a regular car being offered with one hundred thousand mile bonus and you could apply for that card more than once not indefinitely but you could apply three or four times I think he just kind of was creative about that I'm not sure I think that the moment the highest signing bonuses I'm seeing are about seven sixty to seventy thousand so so you know if you're watching this right now are you watching this online? We're actually gonna be engaging on this topic so maybe how would be tweeting we can ask him about that? Anything else? Yes scott one of my friends is a diamond sky miles medallion member and part of their new cruelty with sky pesos as we call it now is that you have tohave minimum spend with delta in order to gain, um, status right and achieve some more of those bonus miles have you and well any so my question is there they're big on american express so is it on lee with the delta american express that that's good or could you go and get that target card and I believe in this particular case that it is with the delta card I think it's actually just having that card and then spending something like twenty five thousand twenty five thousand dollars a year united is the same thing as well. So some of the programs we're changing how they factor in elite status that's what? Scott's referring teo s o this so the manufactured spoon is actually a good strategy there because you have to have the target card right? But then you take their target card in this example you take it to the store and then you pull out your delta card or your whatever whatever you want to use and you put five thousand dollars on it so he would have to do that five times to meet the twenty five thousand he's actually earning so he's actually earning skymiles or sky pesos as you put it. So he charmed every time he does that charges the target card with yes, he loads him, he loads the target card with that. Yeah, brilliant that's not that accounts linked back to his bank account so he can move that money whatever. He doesn't spend a target with their five percent discount back to the bank account and then use that to pay off the credit card. Okay, so I was wondering the third thing that we were going teo that worthy goals for the day was to track our car okay so I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the tracker, right? Right? That comes when you're asleep people so when you are sleepy for the courts don't have to pay for it it's just available for anyone, you can just download this spreadsheet and it's going to make it super easy to kind of plug in the cards you get and there's a space for you to put the minimum spend requirement basically to check off when you've made it. Probably some other stuff there I used the credit card tracker I actually created the credit card tracker and it's actually two separate it's too shep separate pages in the excel work book and you can save it in google docks if you want and the first page is cards, I'm a applying for cards I have and I keep a list of all the cards I have the date that I got the card when the minimum, what the minimum spend is what the annual fee is. So all the information, what bonus I got, so I have all that information in one place and then I know from that from that list when I need to cancel those cards or if I'm going to cancel those cards and after I cancel the card I move it to the second worksheet in that workbook and that is all the cards I've canceled because I have quite a few cards, and now I know I can look at that and say, okay, I had that star. Good, hard. I canceled it last year in july, and I know I can't get the bonus for another year. So I need to wait till next august to reapply for it again. So that just helps me keep track of all those different credit cards I have and there's actually an instructional page on the first page of that downloadable worksheet that will help you be able to use this tool.

Class Description

Who wouldn’t love to know how to earn enough miles and points for two airline tickets and three hotel nights? In Make Your Dream Trip a Reality, Chris Guillebeau and Stephanie Zito can show you how it's done. 

Travel feeds our creative spirits, allows us to discover new viewpoints, and fuels our work. In this class, you’ll find out how you can make your dream of journeying to the world’s most far-flung places a practical and affordable reality.

Chris and Stephanie have made it their life's mission to help others experience all the thrill and adventure that world travel can offer. In Make Your Dream Trip a Reality. 

Chris and Stephanie will help you: 

  • Master the system of Frequent Flier miles and hotel points
  • Set up a personal points-earning strategy – even if you don’t fly
  • Upgrade your dream vacation experience at no cost to you

In short, daily lessons, Chris and Stephanie will cover all aspects of how to plan your vacation including financing your trip. You’ll learn how to set your savings and point-earning strategy so you are armed with everything you need to relax and enjoy your vacation once you depart. They’ll teach you how to book flights and hotels so you get the very best experience at the absolute best rate. You’ll also get insider tips from professional globetrotters on traveling solo and as a family.

By the end of this course you’ll learn everything you need to know to save money, minimize hassle, and make the most of your travel experience.

Your dream destination, and a life of regular traveling, is now available to you – no matter your budget. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

40 Ways to Use Ultimate Rewards Points

Dream Trip Workbook

7 Habits of Highly Effective Travel Hacking Couples

Dream Trip Credit Card Tracker

Upgrade Unlocked Sneak Peak

10 Tips for Travel Hacking Families

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Highly recommended! This is one of the best CreativeLive courses I've ever taken and a great value. There's a lot of excellent information here, presented in a fun and accessible way. The CL "boot camp" approach was perfect for this topic because it dispenses the material in bite size pieces with very doable action steps along the way. The corresponding Facebook group adds even more value and camaraderie. It's a great place to clear up any questions or confusion that may come up. What an amazing resource! By the end of the course, not only will you have learned a tremendous amount, you will actually have something tangible to show for it!

a Creativelive Student

This is a fabulous course. Stephanie and Chris are both so knowledgeable, helpful, and easy going. They clearly love and practice what they're teaching. And they're open to learning from the students too. The course is packed with information, delivered in an immediately useful way. In fact, they emphasize again and again that the point is to USE the information to REALLY take your "Dream Trip" soon! The Facebook group is the best I've ever experienced with an online course. Stephanie and Chris are remarkably present, responsive, understanding, and generous with their knowledge and experience. I highly recommend this course.