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Money Saving

Top 7 Basic Travel Strategies We Used in 2019

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Basic Travel Strategies have saved us tens of thousands of dollars over the years. Sometimes these are smaller victories like earning $100 from opening an Invest Account. And others are much larger like my last flight to Japan in First Class that should have cost me $12,822.70. By using Basic Travel Strategies, I only paid $267.13!

I’ve utilized all of the Basic Travel Strategies below in 2019 and believe that these will continue to provide tremendous value in 2020. I hope that they can help provide you with motivation and inspiration to meet me in the sky!


Here are the Top 7 Basic Travel Strategies We Used in 2019

1 – Southwest Companion Pass

I cannot say enough about how amazing the Southwest Companion Pass has been for us over the years. This Travel strategy allows the pass owner to add a companion to any flight for up to two full years! For example, if I book a flight on Southwest from Buffalo NY to Aruba, I can add Lisa as my companion for FREE. The best part is that it even works when I use POINTS to PAY for my flight! 

Learn more about earning the Southwest Companion Pass in 2020 HERE!

$550 Annual Fee

80,000
Ultimate Rewards Points
after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
125,000
Marriot Bonvoy® bonus points
After spending $4,000 on your card in the first 3 months
70,000
Bonus Miles plus Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22)
after you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days

$695 annual fee (Rates & Fees

80,000
Membership Reward Points
After spending $6,000 on your card in the first 6 months

$0 Annual Fee

0% Intro APR
for 21 months on balance transfers
from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening.
65,000
American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles
after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
75,000
bonus points
after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

2 – Hotel Annual Free Night Certificates

Many Hotel Branded Credit Cards come with annual FREE Night Certificates. Now, to be completely upfront, you’re technically paying the annual fee for the certificate. Annual Fees often cost around $100 for many Hotel Credit Cards. It’s possible to double or triple the value back when redeeming. This makes it a great Basic Travel Tip. I used a few of these last year to run the Chicago Marathon and Washington DC Cherry Blossom 10k. For both of these weekends, hotel prices were sky high! My Favorite Hotel Win from 2019 was in Japan when we combined our Hilton and Marriott certificates to save $3,487.

Check out our Top Hotel Credit Card Offers HERE

80,000
Hilton Honors Bonus Points
After you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.

3 – Airport Lounges 

It’s crazy to see how much money food and beverage costs in airports! By utilizing Airport Lounges when traveling, it’s possible to significantly cut those costs. The easiest way to gain access to an Airport Lounge is through a Priority Pass Membership. There are a handful of Credit Cards that include a Priority Pass membership as a benefit. One of my FAVORITE lounges out there is the Newly Opened Club at Buffalo. We were able to visit on opening day and have become regulars over the last 5 months! 

$695 annual fee (Rates & Fees

80,000
Membership Reward Points
After spending $6,000 on your card in the first 6 months

Learn more about Airport Lounges HERE

4 – Status Matching 

Using one elevated status to get freebies from another rewards program is one of my favorite Travel strategies! This past year, I was able to use my Hilton Honors Diamond Status to match to Caesars’ Rewards Diamond. I earned a $100 Celebration Dinner Voucher, Two Free Show Tickets, and a Complimentary Four Night Stay at the Atlantis in the Bahamas. There are many options for Status Matching that come and go throughout the year. Sign up for our Email List and Join our Facebook Group to get in on the next one! 

Learn More About how I Status Matched to a FREE Stay at the Atlantis Bahamas HERE

5 – United Excursionist Perk 

This is one of the coolest Basic Travel Strategies out there. When using United Airlines Miles to fly roundtrip, you can add a stopover in another country for FREE. In order to use the Excursionist Perk, the stopover must be in a different region from where the trip originates and ends. For example, we used the United Excursionist Perk to fly for FREE from Singapore to the Philippines. This trip started and ended in Japan, which is considered its own region. Both Singapore and the Phillippines are considered South Asia which is a different region than Japan. This is a fun Travel Trick to incorporate into your tool kit but does take some practice. The best part is that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Ink Credit Cards Ultimate Reward Points both Transfer to the United Airlines Program. This is an easy way to earn more miles towards an Excursionist Redemption! 

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

60,000
bonus miles
after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

You can find the Top Chase Offers HERE

6 – Checking, Savings, and Investing Account Bonuses

Earning Cash Bonuses from opening different banking and investing accounts is an awesome Basic Travel Strategy! I love loading my Travel Fund with these bonuses throughout the year and watching the account grow.  We typically choose to put this money towards a nice dinner while on vacation or a unique excursion. Most recently I used a portion of the $1,000 that I earned last Fall to pay for a Shark Scuba Diving Experience in the Bahamas! One of my favorite bonuses to earn right now is the SoFi Invest $100 FREE Stock. Be sure to bookmark our Top Bank Account Bonuses to check back as we update often.

Learn How to Get your FREE $100 Stock HERE 

7 – Credit Card Signup Bonuses 

There still is no better Basic Travel Strategy out there than accruing large portions of Points and Miles through Credit Card Signup Bonuses. We have been able to travel all over the World using Points and Miles while paying a fraction of the cost. For example, the current Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card welcome offer is worth $1,000 in Travel! The best part is that you can get even more value when transferring points to partners like shown above with the United Excursionist Perk. The key to earning welcome bonuses is to make a plan to meet the minimum spending requirement. To help, we have put together a whole LIST of things that you can pay for with your Credit Card! 

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Feel free to Reach Out To Us with any questions about which cards to open and how to get the best value from your points and miles. You’ll find our top Credit Card Offers of the Month HERE

New to Credit Card Rewards Points? Check out the BASICS Below!

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5 Basic Travel Strategies

Need-to-know tricks for cheap travel.

Top Credit Card Offers

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

American Express® Gold Card

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

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We're Dave & Lisa

An easy-going, fun-loving couple who have a passion for adventure and exploring the world! Our strategies have saved us over $100,000 in travel over the last four years, and our goal is to help you do the same.

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