Posts by Ryan Kangail

Travel Hacking News – Ep. 5

bucket list

Here’s another episode of “Travel Hacking News” brought to you by none other than myself, Ryan from Travel Freedom.  Today I’ve rounded up five articles that may help you in your travel hacking endeavors.  Articles like these helped me find my way and now I’m here to pass on the good stuff.

First off, for any of you attending the World Cup that’s coming up, you won’t need a Visa to be allowed.  Maybe the first good news from Russia you’ve heard in a while!  If you are attending please leave a comment.  We’d love to hear about your plans and set up an interview.

world cup russiaRussia Waiving Visa Requirements for World Cup – The Points Guy

The Chase Ink Preferred normally has one of the best signup bonuses, but if this is true and the bonus is even higher than normal… Oh boy, jump on that if it is indeed true.  100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points can go a long way.  No joke!  I can think of four ways I could spend them… how about 4 round trip flights to Hawaii from the west coast.

Increased Chase Ink Preferred Signup Bonus – Miles to Memories

Let’s keep it going with increased Chase signup bonuses!  This one is for sure… Normally this card will give you 1.5 travel contest winnerpoints on all purchases, but now they’ll give you double that in the first year of having the card.  Three Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all types of spend is something to write home about!

Chase Freedom Unlimited (double) 3x Points – Mile Value

On to the list articles for the day.  This one by The Points Guy and his peeps is a list of 10 things people decide to do while on vacation…  Some good, some bad… All life changing.

10 Life Changing Decision People Make on Vacation – The Points Guy

luxury hotelNext on the list of 10 articles is one about the best hotels around the world that will cost you less than $300 per night.  $300 per night is pretty expensive in my book, so I’d sure hope they’re nice!

10 of the Worlds Best Hotels that Cost Under $300 – GODSAVETHEPOINTS

That’s all for this episode.  Thanks for tuning in.  See you next time on Travel Hacking News.  Ryan Kangail signing out.

Southwest Companion Pass – BOGO Free Flights for Two Years

 If you haven’t heard of the Southwest Companion Pass, you’re about to be enlightened on what I would consider to be the best deal in the airline industry.  Receiving a Southwest Companion Pass is achieved by earning 110,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards miles in one calendar year. While that may sound impossible for the regular traveler, it’s not.  The 110,000 Southwest miles do not have to be earned solely through flying. They can be earned through the Chase Rapid Rewards credit cards as well. This means that both the credit card signup bonuses and the money spent on the cards will earn points towards the Southwest Companion Pass!

What is the Southwest Companion Pass Worth?

travel hackingWhen you achieve Southwest Companion Pass status, you’re essentially getting a card that gives you BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE, for every flight for the year you earn it and the next year.  Yes, you heard that right. If earned in January 2018, you’d have it for all of 2018 and 2019. Even better, the free companion is valid on paid flights and reward flights. That means that those 110,000 miles you just earned are now basically worth 220,000 miles!  Hell to the yeah!!! It doesn’t get much better than that. If you decide to travel a lot on Southwest while you have the companion pass, you can save thousands upon thousands of dollars.

travel hack hawaiiI almost forgot to mention that Southwest has grown their flight routes over the past few years. They now fly to Mexico, Central America, and much of the Caribbean.  Also, they plan to begin flights to Hawaii in late 2018 or early 2019. I’m guessing you can see why this is my favorite deal in the airline industry.  Although Southwest doesn’t fly all over the world, if you’re looking to travel within the U.S.A. and our southern neighboring countries, it’s an amazing deal.

More about the Southwest Credit Cards

There are currently three Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards offered by Chase and they typically have a signup bonus of 50,000 miles each (lately, some of them even have a bonus up to 60,000 miles).  With three cards available, that means if you can get approved for two of them, and meet the minimum spends for both, you’ll instantly earn a Southwest Companion Pass. Chase offers two personal credit cards (Plus & Premier) and one business credit card (Business Premier).  Yes, you must have your own business to qualify for a business credit card. However, a sole proprietorship is valid. That means if you have any kind of “side hustle” you have a business. Do you sell things on Ebay or Craigslist? That’s a business. Maybe you have garage sales… Get creative!  If you need inspiration, check out these two blogs: Smart Passive Income & Side Hustle School.

companion pass southwestGetting approved for two cards at the same time is absolutely possible.  I’ve done it on multiple occasions, my wife has done it, and many travel bloggers have done it as well.  If you don’t get automatically approved for one of them, call the reconsideration line and see if they’ll manually approve you. For instance, you may want two personal cards to separate your spending from two categories, or you may want a personal card and a business card to keep expenses for your business out of your personal finances.  Either way, it’s possible to get them both approved.

southwest companion passFind Your Companion and Start Traveling More

If you’re looking to do a lot of traveling in the upcoming years, and you’ve got a companion to do it with, this deal is absolutely worth attempting to achieve.  It works especially well for couples, but remember that the points must all be earned on one account to earn the Southwest Companion Pass and transferring points won’t help.  After my wife completes her second minimum spend, we’ll have Companion Pass status for the third straight year (and 4th next year).

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll help you out!

Travel Hacking News – Ep. 4

bucket list

Hey, there Travel Tribe!  Hope you’re having a great week so far.  I just wanted to catch you up on what’s happening in  travel hacking news today.  There seems to be a lot of news around issues with planes this week, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough of that elsewhere.  Let’s check out these articles that may be useful for travel hacking, instead.

This article shows which airlines have the most and least legroom. It also compares how the sizes of seats in many of the airlines have changed over the past 30 years.  It’s kind of funny to me that over that 30 years while people seem to be getting fatter, the seats are getting smaller.airplane seat sizes

Have Plane Seats Really Shrunk – The Telegraph

Is Google going to make a run at in-flight wi-fi?  Well, it’s uncertain, but this article explains why it may be a potential for the tech giant.  I’d have to say, more options for wi-fi on planes would be a good thing.  Sometimes in-flight wi-fi is a bit too pricey for my budget and maybe this will help.

Google’s In-flight Wi-fi Play – Paxex.aero

To end today’s Travel Hacker News, I’ll leave you with this weeks travel contests and giveaways.  You may think you’ll never win one because the odds are so bad, but it’s not true.  Someone’s travel contest winnergotta win… why not you.  I used to sign up for every travel giveaway I saw and I surprisingly won 5 or 6 giveaways, including 100,000 Starwood points which ended up giving me about 10 free nights at some great hotels.

Travel Contests – Johnny Jet

Good luck!  Talk to you next time.  If you missed the last Travel Hacking News it can be found here.

Travel Hacking News – Ep. 3

travel hacking news

What’s up Travel Tribe?!?  It’s that time of the day again.  Travel Hacking News presents the best articles I’ve seen today.  Hopefully one of them will catch your eye, or maybe all of them will.  Reading articles like this, is how I became a travel hacking expert and how I’m able to travel pretty much wherever I want without being super duper loaded.  There are a lot of great travel blogs out there, but it’s hard to keep up with them all.  I’m here to help… Without further ado, let’s get into the articles.

travel hackingFirst up, we have a short article from Frequent Flyer Bonuses, that tells you about a Southwest Airlines promotion that you need to sign up for if you’re planning on flying with them before summer.  Two words – DOUBLE MILES!

SW Rapid Rewards Double Points – Frequent Flyer Bonuses

Here’s one that’s been on just about every travel blog this week.  It’s about a 60 Minutes episode that talks about an airline that’s not safe to travel on.  Supposedly, many of their pilots don’t let their families fly the airline they work for.  Hmmmm… who could it be?  Maybe you’ve flown them. It’s US budget airline, Allegiant.  Stay safe Travel Tribe.

Damning Allegiant Air Safety Expose – Live & Let Fly

travel hackingThis travel hacking news article shows you how it’s now possible to pay your rent with a credit card for a 1.5% fee.  That may sound crazy to pay extra, but it could be useful if you’re trying to meet a minimum spend on a new credit card.

Pay Rent by Credit Card for 1.5% Fee – Frequent Miler

Car rentals are always a difficult one for me.  You don’t get a lot of value using your points on them, but it’s also sometimes hard to find a decent deal.  I usually check Hotwire and Costco Travel, but will definitely be trying out the tricks I just learned in this article.

travel hackingHow to Save on Car Rentals – Million Mile Secrets

Welp, big gulps huh… That’ll do it for today’s Travel Hacking News.  If you missed the last one you can find it here.  Until next time, keep it real Travel Tribe!

If you like Travel Freedom, join the email journal and tell a friend.  It will help Travel Freedom grow.  Thank you so much!

Travel Hacking News – Ep. 2

Hola Travel Tribe!

I just got back from Riviera Maya, Mexico, and I’ve got some more great travel hacking news for you.  My goal is to help as many people as possible learn how to use points and miles to travel like they’re rich.  These “Travel Hacking News” posts are a mixture of recent blog posts that I think will help everyone learn valuable information.

Let’s get started!

 

Travel with Grant lists out quite a few travel mistakes that are easy to make.  I’ve done a few of these, and I’m sure you have too.  This will be a good reminder of how to avoid these travel mistakes in the future.

Top Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them – Travel with Grant

Part 1     Part 2

 

Chase bank has a rule for many of their credit cards, where you will be declined if you’ve added 5 new credit cards in the past 24 months.  This number is easily reachable if you’re a travel hacker trying to rack up miles and points.  Luckily this rule does not apply to ALL Chase credit cards.  Here is a list of the Chase Credit Cards that DO NOT fall into this rule.

Chase Cards You Can Still Apply For Despite the “5/24” Rule – Deals We Like

 

Nothing is worse than getting sick while on vacation.  I learned a few things from this blog post and I’m sure you will too.  Here’s to never getting sick from being on a plane again!

The Best Airplane Seat to Avoid Catching a Cold – GODSAVETHEPOINTS

 

 

That’s all for the second version of “Travel Hacking News”.  I hope you found at least one of these articles useful.  My goal is to help you have Travel Freedom, like I have and travel like you’re rich! If you missed the last episode, you can catch up here.

If you like Travel Freedom, join the email journal and tell a friend.  It will help Travel Freedom grow.  Thank you so much!

Budget Hawaii Vacation – How I Saved Over $1300 on Flights

This week I booked a 16 night Hawaii vacation, for my wife and I, to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary.  It’s our favorite place to travel, and it’s where we went on our honeymoon. I’d been waiting for reward space on flights to open up for the date range we had available, and finally they did! OH YEAH!!!

 

HOW I BOOKED OUR FLIGHT

I found flights on Alaska Airlines that had reward space, so I jumped on the opportunity and booked them with British Airways miles (who is a partner airline of Alaska Airlines).  If you want to learn how I did this, here’s a post about it. This summer, we’re headed to The Big Island and then Maui for our two island Hawaii vacation. Eight days at each location. I’ve been to all of the Hawaiian islands (some multiple times), and Maui is my favorite.  The Big Island is my second favorite, so I’m excited for my wife, Allison, to explore it for her first time! She’ll surely be shocked on our drive from the airport, and possibly think we landed on Mars instead… (if you’ve been there, you know what I mean).

 

OUR ACCOMMODATIONS

As soon as I knew the dates we would be traveling, I started looking for our accommodations.  I knew we wanted to at least spend most of our time in a condo with a kitchen. My go-to website for this type of booking is VRBO.com because they have a great variety of homes in Hawaii.  The reason for wanting to book a condo, is so that we can prepare a lot of our meals and snacks, which significantly cuts down on our eating expenses.

 

By preparing our breakfasts, snacks, lunches and some dinners, we won’t be paying inflated restaurant prices or tips for every single meal.  16 days multiplied by three meals for two people, is a lot of meals to be eating out. When we arrive in Hawaii, we make a Costco run to get enough food and drinks for our stay, which usually costs between $100-200 for a week.  After our trip, I’ll report back on how much money we spent on food.

 

HAWAII VACATION COSTS/EXPENSES RUNDOWN

Flights: $22.40 ( +50,000 miles which are free through a credit card signup bonus! ) SAVED $1331.60 on these flights!!! Booyah! 

 

Condo: $2279.53 ( $954.71-Big Island  $1324.82-Maui ) We splurged!!! It comes out to $142.50 per night, which is cheaper than most decent hotels in Hawaii.

 

Car Rentals: To be determined – Haven’t booked yet because I’m hoping the prices go down.  I usually check Hotwire and Costco Travel. (current price ~$900)

 

Excursions: To be determined – Mostly, we will be spending time at the beach, snorkeling, hiking and exploring which only cost the price of whatever gas it takes to get to our destination.  One thing that we’ll definitely be doing is stand up paddle boarding (SUP).  I’ve found Kona Boys to be a good place to rent a board.  Hopefully, we’ll get lucky and see the pod of dolphins that frequents the Kona coastline!

 

Food: To be determined – Costco food, restaurant meals, and coffee won’t be too much higher than we’d spend regularly on food at home.

 

CANT WAIT FOR OUR HAWAII VACATION

We saved a ton on our flights, so we could splurge a little bit on where we’re staying.  Really, if we weren’t splurging, we could have taken a shorter trip and used points to stay at hotels for free-ish.  $142 per night isn’t too bad, considering how high the taxes and fees were for renting. Over the next year or so we plan on traveling as much as possible, before

having children.  Because of this we’ll likely take some long trips during the summers when we have more time away from work. This is one of those trips and we can’t wait!

 

Saving money on trips like this, is possible for anyone who has the right travel hacking tools. If you’re interested in having a life full of travel, without paying a pocket full of money, I suggest following along with Travel Freedom.  An easy way to follow is by entering your email below to join our email journal. You’ll stay updated with news, tips and giveaway information. Mahalo. Talk to you soon. Aloha!

Travel Hacking News – Ep. 1

What’s up Travel Tribe,

Today’s “Travel Hacking News” post will be the first of many, which will feature blog posts from around the travel hacking community.  Reading these types of articles is how I learned to create my own Travel Freedom.  If any of them spark your interest, absolutely give them a read.  The more you read about travel hacking, the more you’ll learn, and the more ideas you’ll have for your own travel freedom.  If you have any questions about anything you read, hit me up!  I’ll give you an answer or do my best to find one.

Enough of the intro… Let’s jump right in to some Travel Hacking News.

This one’s about saving money on food during your travels.  My personal favorite way to save on food, is by staying at condos.  With a kitchen, I’m able to pack snacks and lunches while on the go, and make meals for a majority of the trip’s dinners.  Most condos also have public barbecues!

 

How to Save Money on Food while Traveling – Bald Thoughts

SALE ALERT!  Alaska Airlines is having a sale from many west coast cities to my favorite place in the world.  HAWAII!!!  Hopefully you can take advantage of this one… If you do, I’ve got some Hawaii hints for you.

 

Alaska Fare Sale from the West Coast to Hawaii – Points with a Crew

Stopovers are when, instead of flying from point A to point C, you fly from A to B and spend some time visiting, then finish your route to point C.  I need to start taking advantage of this more myself.

 

How to Book the Best Stopover Possible – Travel with Grant

DEAL ALERT!  The American Express Blue Business Plus credit card is offering a signup bonus that they usually don’t.  This is a card that’s great for regular spending because it earns 2 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent.  Not bad, right?

 

New 10K Signup Bonus on 2X Everywhere Card – The Frequent Miler

Use them, or lose them.  Well, sort of… Points and miles occasionally are devalued and end up not being worth as much in travel rewards.  Also, if you have inactivity in your accounts, you may lose your points.  Don’t let that happen.  Trust me, I let some expire on accident recently and I’m still upset about it.

 

Why to Always Redeem Points When you Can – Point Me to the Plane

When booking tickets, remember to always check alternative airports for both departure and arrival locations.  If you’re having trouble finding a flight, every so often you’ll get lucky and this will save you.

 

Why You Should Always Check Alternative Airports – Frugal Travel Guy

Welp, that concludes the first “Travel Hacking News”.  I hope you found at least one of these articles useful.  My goal is to help you have Travel Freedom, like I have.

If you like Travel Freedom, join the email journal and tell a friend.  It will help Travel Freedom grow.  Thank you!

Value of a Credit Card – Chase Sapphire Preferred

The value of one credit card signup bonus can be enormous. Credit card signup bonuses are the points or miles that a bank is willing to give you when you sign up for their credit card and meet an initial spending level that they designate. A typical credit card signup bonus could be 50,000 points or miles for signing up for a particular credit card and spending $3000 on that card within the first 3 months of applying.

Best Credit Card for new Travel Hackers

The card that I refer to first time travel hackers more often than any is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It typically offers 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of having the card. The offer changes occasionally in how many points are offered or how much the initial minimum spend is.

Whenever someone asks me what credit card is best to get first, I always ask them what they want to achieve with the points. Usually the person asking has no idea, they just know that they want to travel more. In this situation the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the best offers around due to its versatility. It allows the customer to either spend their Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly with Chase or transfer to an array of airlines and hotels. The transferring of the points will typically give a more valuable redemption of points. For these reasons, I will show you what the points from signing up for this one card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, can achieve for you through a real life experience. My sister in law, Amber, and her fiance, recently took advantage of this offer to book part of their honeymoon!

Terms of the bonus

As mentioned above, the current terms of the Chase Sapphire Preferred deal is to receive 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of having the card. They also mention that this bonus is worth $625 worth of travel. I’m going to show you that it can be worth quite a bit more. How much more? You’ll see… it’s pretty crazy!

Meeting the Minimum Spend

After applying for the card you’ll need to meet the initial minimum spend so that your bonus points will be released into your account. Amber had her regular spending plus some wedding expenses that needed to be paid so she was easily able to meet the initial minimum spend. If you already spend $4,000 per three months, great! You’ll meet your spend just with that. If you don’t typically spend that much, you can manufacture spending in a variety of ways. A few of these ways to manufacture spending are to purchase Visa or American Express gift cards for later spend, asking a friend or relative if you can use you card on their spending and have them pay you back, or making a big purchase that you have been planning on. There are many ways to manufacture some spend to meet the bonus. A good reference for manufactured spending is on Frequent Miler blog.

The numbers:

They spent about $9,000 in the initial three months of having the card which earned them the following:

50,000 pts – signup bonus
9,000 pts – regular spend points
5,000 pts – authorized user bonus points (another bonus for adding a second card for her fiance)

=64,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Where to travel?

They decided that they wanted to travel to the beautiful islands of Hawaii for their honeymoon! They’ve been to Oahu so wanted to experience something new… Or somethings! They ended up finding flights that were available through Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines to travel from the San Francisco Bay area to Kauai, then to Maui, and back home to the bay area.

OAK to LIH = 25,000 miles + $11.20 taxes/fees (booked using British Airways miles)
LIH to OGG = 14,000 miles + $11.20 taxes/fees (booked using United Airways miles)
OGG to SFO = 25,000 miles + $11.20 taxes/fees (booked using British Airways miles)

Total amount saved on these flights combined: $1,345.40 (I’d call that a win)

Points and the value of them

Overall this was a great travel rewards redemption, which got excellent value out of their points. Their flights to/from Hawaii ended up with a value of 2.3 cents per point, and their inter-island flight earned a value of 1.4 cents per point, coming out to a total of 2.1 cents per point. 64,000 points spent and $1,345.40 saved.

 

The value of one credit card signup bonus

This is just one example of how one credit card signup bonus can make an enormous impact on your travel and give extraordinary value. Amber ended up saving over $1,300 dollars on their honeymoon, which is pretty incredible. I’d say that’s quite a bit better than the $625 value that Chase puts on the signup bonus!

GoPro Hero Review

snorkeling in hawaii

TRAVEL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS THAT LOOK PROFESSIONAL

Do you like taking photos and videos while on vacation?  I’m guessing your answer is either “yes” or “no, but my significant other does”.  Of course you want pictures of your awesome vacation so that: A. You can show off to your friends on social media, and B. You can look back at all the great times you had, when you’re back at home.  

Yes, your phone is probably pretty good at taking the selfies and pictures you ask another tourist to take for you, but how about those underwater shots of you and the turtle while you’re snorkeling, or the video of you stand up paddling for the first time?  I’m not sure you want to take your cell phone with you on those adventures, even if it is waterproof…

 

MADE FOR UNDERWATER AND ACTION SHOTS

The GoPro HERO cameras are perfect for taking action shots, videos, and underwater photos or videos.  There are an assortment of handy accessories such as “The Handler” which is both something to hold onto and a floatation device, so that you’ll never lose your camera.  GoPro’s also come with tools that allow you to attach the camera just about anywhere to capture your action from the best possible angle.

I personally have the Hero 4 Silver, which is now outdated but is still amazing.  The newest version is the Hero 6 Black.  The GoPro Hero 6 Black iis waterproof without the use of a case and features 4K video and 12 MP photos which turn out amazing.  They are truly game changing products that will enhance the way you document your vacations to make your photos and videos look like a professional did it.

 

All of the products from the Travel Product of the Week series can be found in the Travel Freedom Store.