SeatGuru: How to Get the Best Seat on the Plane

Plus a Special Bonus Trick that I Love

Whether flying in economy, business, or first class, you want the best seat for the money you spend. Some seats—such as those near the bathrooms—you know to avoid choosing. But how can you know in advance which seats don’t recline or which have misaligned windows? On the other hand, how can you know which have extra leg room or AC power so that you can charge your device in flight? The answer is SeatGuru.

Exit row seats

I’ve used SeatGuru for many years to help me get the best seat for the money. In this post I will explain how SeatGuru works and show you how to use it to get a great seat on the plane. (more…)

How to “Priceline Hack” a Luxury Hotel on the Cheap

I Saved $85/night—a 57% Discount—the Last Time I Used This Trick

If you’re like most people, you don’t want to overpay for a hotel. At the same time, you don’t want to spend forever squeezing out every last dollar of savings. You want to quickly find and book a great hotel at a great price. If you’re going to pay cash (rather than points) for a hotel, the absolute best way I know of to quickly get a great hotel at a great price is to use the Priceline hack I describe in this post.

Times Square with "Phantom of the Opera" sign -- used to illustrate the Priceline Hack

Times Square, New York — one of the many places the Priceline hack works

The last time I used this method I booked a $150 4-star hotel in Miami for $65—a savings of $85 or 57%. Saving $85 is great. But imagine saving $85/night on a 5-night stay. That’s a savings of $425. Now imagine doing that four times per year. That’s a savings of $1,700. The savings add up quickly when you make this method of booking hotels your default method.

In this post I will explain how Priceline works. Then I’ll share the key to the trick. Finally, I’ll include a video I recorded of me using the method. That way you can see, step-by-step, exactly how to do it. (more…)

How to Avoid Paying a Flight Cancellation Fee

4 Ways to Cancel Flights for Free

Cancelling a flight is often costly. Most of the U.S. carriers charge $100-200 to cancel or change a nonrefundable, domestic ticket. In some cases, however, you can cancel without paying a flight cancellation fee.

Woman watching a plane depart

Following are 4 ways to cancel your ticket without paying a fee. I’ve used three of these four ways a good number of times. (more…)

How My Family Just Took a $5,218 Vacation to Cabo San Lucas for $42

My family of five and my folks returned last week from a great vacation to Cabo San Lucas. I’ll tell you a bit about the trip via the pictures and captions in this post. But mostly I want to share how the seven of us paid a total of $42 for roundtrip flights and 5 nights at a 4-star resort. I want to give you ideas for how you can do the same. Because you can.

McAdam Family at Sunset in Cabo

My family attempting to pose for a picture on our recent trip to Cabo San Lucas

We had expenses on the ground such as transportation and food that went beyond the $42. But that’s how much we spent on hotel and flights. Here’s how: (more…)

Great New Site Notifies You of Ultralow Fares from Your Chosen Airport(s)

“All the Flight Deals” Overcomes the Limitations of Other Sites to Consistently Provide Fantastic Deals, Including Many Flights to Europe for Under $450 Round-trip

Do you want to travel cheaply without any credit card or mile and point shenanigans? If so, you should check out this great new site: All the Flight Deals. It has consistently provided me with fantastic fares including many from my home airport to Europe for under $450 round-trip.

All the Flight Deals notifies you of the cheapest fares from whatever airport(s) you want to monitor to anywhere in the world. In doing so, it differs in important ways from all the other airfare sites I’m aware of. Consider these differences: (more…)

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.

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…)

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…)