Last Day to Lock in $10 AwardWallet Plus Price

The Price Rises to $30 Starting Feb. 1, 2017

I’ve written before about how I use AwardWallet Plus to track the miles and points balances and expiration dates of my family’s accounts.

There is a free version, which displays the expiration date of up to 3 miles and points programs. I use the $10/year version, which displays the expiration date of an unlimited number of programs. You can compare the differences here.

I just wanted to let you know that today, January 31, is the last day to lock in the $10/year price for AwardWallet Plus. Starting tomorrow, the price will rise to $30/year.

It Pays to be Kind

How Kindness May Recently Have Saved Me Between $70 and $525

My wife and I recently returned from dinner to our hotel room while on vacation. She soon realized that she couldn’t find her iPhone. Because she is a sane person, she doesn’t have it glued to her 24/7 like I do.

I called her phone, but we didn’t hear it ring. We listened more carefully: we didn’t hear it vibrate. Uh oh.

I used the “Find My iPhone” app to track her phone from mine. I could see her phone moving at a pretty good clip up and down nearby streets. That was actually good news because it all but confirmed her suspicion that she had left it in the taxi we had taken to the hotel. Having not gotten a receipt from the driver, I had no way of getting in touch with him through the cab company.

I called my wife’s phone again. I texted it. I used the “Find My iPhone” app to play a sound, which overrides even silent mode. No response. “$700 down the drain,” I thought (and maybe said aloud). (more…)

How to Decide Whether to Keep or Close a Credit Card

How to Travel for Free: Part 7 of 7

To fuel free travel in the manner I’ve described in this series of posts, you need to open credit cards with big signup bonuses on an ongoing basis. The question then arises: should you ever close a credit card you open and, if so, when?

Overwater bungalows, Bora Bora

My basic rule is this: You should close a credit card if its annual benefits do not outweigh its annual fee. Otherwise, you should leave it open.

Let me unpack that rule a bit. (more…)

How to Use the Miles and Points You Acquire

How to Travel for Free: Part 6 of 7

Throughout this series of posts I’ve argued that miles and points are useful not only for free travel but also for freeing up money you would otherwise have spent on travel. To maximize your savings, there are two basic considerations. First, earn the most miles and points for the least expenditure of time and money. Second, redeem miles and points for the most value.

My advice on earning the most miles and points is straightforward. Go for Chase cards first (provided you have opened fewer than 5 cards in the previous 24 months). Then, open the most lucrative signup offers on my Best Credit Card Signup Offers page.

(more…)

5 Creative Ways to Meet the Minimum Spend Requirement in Order to Get the Sign-up Bonus

How to Travel for Free: Part 5 of 7

A couple months ago a friend approached me with a frantic look on her face. Ready to change a tire, use my knife, or recommend a brand of scotch (hey, I thought it might be a real emergency), I sprang to my feet. “I’m afraid,” she stammered. “I’m afraid I won’t be able to meet the minimum spend on my new United card….”

France, a great miles and points destination

Knife and pride restored to their proper place, I reassured her: there are many creative ways to meet the minimum spend. (more…)

Which Credit Cards to Get to Maximize Free Travel

How to Travel for Free: Part 4 of 7

In the previous posts in this series, I’ve shared an approach to getting a lot of free travel by taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses. I also explained why doing so usually has a positive, not negative, effect on one’s long-term credit score (provided you pay your credit card off each month)—a conclusion that would surprise most people. Two questions then arise: how often can I sign up for credit cards and which ones should I sign up for?

Roman square

How Often Can I Sign up for Credit Cards?

There is no cut and dry answer to this question. But I would offer these three points by way of reply:

(more…)

Understanding Credit Scores and the Effect that Credit Card Applications Have on One’s Credit Score

How to Travel for Free: Part 3 of 7

In my previous post I discussed how you can earn a lot of free travel quickly by signing up for a credit card with a big sign-up bonus. A question that arises for many people is: what effect does signing up for credit cards have on one’s credit score?

It is an important question. A good credit score is key to getting loans, such as for a home mortgage, at the lowest rate possible. A quarter point swing in the interest rate on a 30-year home loan can easily be the difference in $10,000, $20,000, or even more over the life of the loan.

In most cases it would be foolish to earn credit card bonuses if doing so meant you would miss the lowest rate on a home loan. But does it?

(more…)

Leveraging Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses for Free Travel

How to Travel for Free: Part 2 of 7

In my last post I shared some of the amazing travel opportunities that can be enjoyed for pennies on the dollar or even for free. Free travel can enable the enthusiast to travel more. But it can also enable those of us who would pay some amount to travel anyway to divert those funds to other priorities.

There are lots of tricks that help enable free travel. But today I want to share the single most powerful technique by far: signing up for a credit card that is offering a big sign-up bonus.

(more…)

Imagining the Possibilities of Free Travel

How to Travel for Free: Part 1 of 7

Sharing amazing experiences with people I love is part of what matters most to me. Travel has always provided such experiences, and as a result I’ve always loved to travel.

The view, overlooking Oahu's Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, from my family’s room at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel

The view, overlooking Oahu’s Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, from my family’s room at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel

About 4 years ago, I got to a point where my family was expanding and I wanted to continue traveling, but I didn’t want to spend every nickel I earned to do it. At the time, I definitely did not know that free travel was possible, and I didn’t know how to do it.

I began to hear about mile and points experts, but at first I wasn’t sure what to think. Were they for real? Did they have a terrible credit score and a heap of debt?

(more…)