Things I’m Doing to Enable Travel Part 2

Things I’m Doing to Enable Travel Part 2

I want to go travel the world. There are several things I’m doing to make that happen: learning about travel hacking, moving more towards a minimalist lifestyle, and a whole lot of travel research. This blog entry isn’t about “I did this and it worked and was awesome” so much as these are things I’ve got in progress that I’m working on.  Part one covers some of the minimalism things I’m doing, part two is travel hacking, part three will be about the travel research I’ve found for Russia and packing light – the plan is carry-on luggage only!

Travel Hacking

Super important before we start: make sure you can pay off your balance every month so you pay no interest!

I’m still really new to this (and learning as I go) but I’ve taken the suggestions from Nomadic Matt’s blogs and travel hacking book and I’m putting them into place in my own life. I started by applying for credit cards whose bonuses are going to help me meet my goals. The goals are: not pay for flights and not pay for hotels. I got four cards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred which earns me 50,000 bonus points after I spend $4,000 in three months and 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point for every dollar spent on other things. The points are transferrable to airlines and hotels and so can be used pretty much anywhere for anything. It has an annual fee of $95.

IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card which currently offers 80,000 bonus points after the first $1,000 in three months, 5 points per dollar on IHG hotels (like Holiday Inn express where I stay all the time), 2 points per dollar on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and an anniversary night free. The fee on the card is waved for the first year and then $49 after that. Even if you only use it for your anniversary night, you still come out ahead!

Citi Prestige Card – I struggled getting my mind wrapped around this one. With a $450 annual fee and a required spend of $7,500 to earn the 75,000 point bonus it’s by far the most expensive card. Here’s why I chose it anyway: $250 credit on air travel (can be used on tickets, baggage fees etc.) if you use that each year it essentially drops the fee to $200/yr. They reimburse the $100 fee for global entry (like TSA precheck on steroids… and tends to include TSA precheck). Priority pass select lounge access – who wouldn’t prefer to wait in a nice lounge… and I can bring a guest. There are priority pass lounges in every city where I have a layover going to Russia. Additionally, your fourth night in a hotel booked through the Citi Prestige Concierge is free (excluding taxes and fees). Even if you only use half those benefits, you come out ahead.  I had originally intended to get the AAdvantage card because American Airlines and Southwest are really the only airlines that fly out of Midland (the miles earned on this card are NOT transferable to American Airlines) but I decided this one was worth it for a while, I will cancel it before the annual fee comes due.

*Update* It turns out the annual fee for the Citi Prestige card is charged your 1st month, not your 12th.

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Master Card – This card also has a 75,000 point bonus after spending $7,500 in the first 3 months and a $450 annual fee.  It comes with Admirals Club access – which is cool but only available in the US.  It also offers priority check-in, boarding, and first checked bag free for you and up to eight people traveling on the same itinerary.  Additionally, I earn double miles on all American Airlines flights booked with this card.  Ultimately, it’s not the best travel card out there but I wanted the American Airlines miles since those will help me get to big hubs and are transferable to any of American Airlines Oneworld alliance partners.

There you go – those are the things I’m currently working on to make traveling the world a little more feasible: minimalism, book fairies, and a dash of travel hacking. Wish me luck!!


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