Sunday, 29 April 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #9 - Audience Rewards

This hack is not going to get you a lot of points but is great for keeping accounts active and thus prevents your miles/points from expiring due to inactivity.  I lost 70,000 United points a few years ago by having no activity on my account.  That will never happen again. Some of the points from this hack can be used at points.com to count as a US Airways Grand Slam hit (more about that in a future post)


Sign up for a new account at Audience Rewards which is a theatre rewards program
When your account is active - click on

- ‘Edit Profile’ 
- ‘Select Point Earning Preferences/Add New Partner’ – Edit
- Add New Partner Account to Profile


Current Partners include SPG, Delta, US Airways, Amtrak, Best Buy
You should add all of them


Every 7-10 days there is a quiz with 5 or 6 multiple choice questions which if answered correctly gets you a paltry 2 miles/points per correct answer.  Not a lot of points I know, but wait there’s more.  


The links to the questions and more importantly the answers are posted online by the most excellent travel hacker blogger InAcents. So add his blog to your rss reader and follow his links to get to the relevant landing page with questions and use his answers to get 100% of the points. If you do it right it should take no more than 60 seconds for 5 questions. You won’t become a mile millionaire this way but your larger nest egg of points will not expire due to inactivity and the points add up over time.


 Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here
 .

Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #9 - Audience Rewards..
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Friday, 27 April 2012

Space Shuttle Last Flight

The space shuttle Enterprise flew by my office just a few minutes ago on top of a 747 jumbo jet. I managed to snap a photo with my phone camera.

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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #8 - Dropshipping with Amazon and Ebay

Dropshipping is basically acting like a middleman between seller and buyer.  You sell stuff you have sourced at a competitive price and have the seller ship it directly to a buyer you have sourced. Technically you never have possession of the goods.  


Many people use Amazon and Ebay for dropshipping as they both offer protection against fraud such as a customer who won’t pay up.  The idea is you monitor the average price that an item e.g. an iPad sells for on eBay and Amazon and you try and make a marginal profit buying from one source and selling to the other. Because you have the seller send directly to the buyer you never have to get bogged down in shipping logistics. 


It’s a tough market for people trying to make a living but an easy way to rack up a lot of points / miles using your credit cards.  The hack is to just aim to break even in profit (even a small loss is acceptable) but you will easily rack up thousands of extra dollars worth of spend = points / miles each month.


Note: A word of caution as credit card companies may take the hard line if you get too greedy and rack up too many points.


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here   .
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #8 - Dropshipping with Amazon and Ebay..
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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #7 - American Express & Twitter Sync

This hack is pretty simple but you need to have an American Express card. I have 9 AMEX credit cards so I collect 9 x times the bonus. AMEX offer so many deals like this you must get at least one card to take advantage. The idea here is simple


1. Sync your AMEX card and twitter account here
2. Repeat with each AMEX card you have (you can sign up for additional Twitter accounts using the gmail hack)
3. Tweet the required phrase mentioned on the AMEX link below
4. Buy from the merchant using your registered AMEX card
5. AMEX gives you a statement credit (in my case x 9 times)
e.g I bought Wholefoods grocery gift vouchers for $75 each x 9 times and got $20 back x 9 = $180 for free - bargain! -

Go to the AMEX twitter page to find the deals!


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #7 - American Express..
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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Weekly Photo - Spring Sunset

This is just a few blocks from where I live and makes for a nice stroll after work.  The building to the right of the photo is my local aka Zeppelin Beer Hall, which makes for an even nicer stroll after work!
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Tags: ..Weekly Photo - Spring Sunset..
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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Hiking New Jersey Palisades

I was instructed by a higher power to rekindle my passion with hiking. This is a 30 minute drive from where I live.  The hike was from the Alpine Park HQ to the state line lookout.  It's a 6 mile easy flat return trip with great views over the Hudson river - Enjoy!
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Tags: ..Hiking New Jersey Palisades..
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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Take a HIKE you Heathen!

Me: Bless me Father for I have sinned.  It’s been 2 years since my last hike


Priest: It’s not a sin if you don’t go hiking my son


Me: Tiz a sin to me Father. Tiz a feckin’ terrible mortal sin to be sure. I used to roam the hills of Hong Kong on a weekly basis. I've strayed from the path.


Priest: How long has it been since your last confession my son? 


Me: Jaezuz Father - did ya not hear me confess a minute ago?


Priest: No, I mean when was the time before this?


Me: Let me think, ah yes, do ya remember the movie - Debbie Does Dallas? After that I think. {That was a little white lie – I’d confessed more recently}


Priest: Yes, that was one of my all time favs. Has it really been that long?


Me: I’m afraid so


Priest: So besides not hiking for 2 years do you have anything else you want to confess my son?


Me: Well, I took the name of the Lord my God - Steve Jobs in vain after Apple released the disappointing iPhone 4S


Priest: I see – anything else?


Me: No – that’s it – what’s my penance?


Priest: Say two Hail Mary’s and switch to an Android phone for 4 weeks and get back out on the hiking trails – pronto! – Go in peace my son and may God have mercy on you – ya heathen little fecker!
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Tags: ..Take a HIKE you Heathen!..
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Travel Hacking - Tip #6 - Never Take No for an Answer

I applied last week for the Chase Freedom credit card which had a limited offer (the best I have seen for this card) for 35,000 points or u$d350 cash back bonus after spending just u$d500 within 3 months.  That means you buy u$d500 of stuff you were going to buy anyway and you get u$d350 of a refund.  i.e. easy money for nothing!


It offers exceptional bonus opportunities on it’s own and especially when combined with a Chase checking account, Chase Sapphire or Ink Bold credit card.  I have all of the above but b.t.w. rest assured, I don't earn any commission from promoting credit cards or banks on this blog. I'm sharing these secrets just for the fun of it!


Alas I got the dreaded “we need more time to review your application” after hitting the submit button and received a letter yesterday to say I had been rejected due to “too many requests for credit or opened accounts with us” – boo hoo – how sad, too bad – maybe time to scale back on my credit card applications. The bonus offer got pulled within 24 hours so I first thought to myself, that I already have 5 credit cards with Chase so this was pushing it and I should just accept my fate.


The inner travel hacker in me wouldn’t lay down however, so I called the Chase reconsideration line on 888-245-0625 and quoted my rejection reference number and told the rep I was a long time (17 years) Chase customer and would like to be reconsidered for the card because I had never been late with a payment. The rep commented on my numerous open lines of credit and my recent application (2 months ago) for the United Explorer Card (where I got 50,000 points).  I reinforced my hope to get the Freedom credit card and my good credit track record.  The rep suggested I transfer some credit from my United card to the Freedom card so I agreed to transfer $6,800 of the $16,800 credit line and two minutes later I was approved.  Never say never - Never take no for an answer! Check out my credit card application tally here.


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here..
Tags: .. Never Take No for an Answer..
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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #5 - Price Mistakes - Carpe Diem

This is more luck and perseverance than a hack.  Sometimes you find a price for a flight, hotel etc online that seems too good to be true.  In some cases it’s a mistake and usually gets corrected within minutes, hours or maybe as long as days. If you find a great deal, you need to act fast. Most companies will honor the price you reserved and booked even if it is an error.


e.g. While booking a weekend car rental last year, I stumbled upon an online rate for Hertz car rental for $19 per day (usually $70+ per day in the NYC metro area).  I thought it must surely be a mistake but I went ahead and block booked every weekend from September until June (when the rate changed back to $70+).   I have been enjoying super cheap rentals for the last six months.  When I don’t need the car, I just cancel but I pick up the car most weekends because it’s so cheap.  I also extended the rental for 2 weeks @ $19 per day over Christmas / New Year.
Since I'm renting so frequently I have Hertz Gold Five Star Status which gives me discounts, free upgrades and more points per rental.


When you find a deal – Carpe Diem – Seize the day!


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here..
Tags: .Travel Hacking - Tip #5 - Price Mistakes - Carpe Diem..
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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #4 - Topguest Foursquare Hack

UPDATE: YOU CAN NOW AUTO CHECK-IN on FOURSQUARE

Topguest partners with foursquare and a number of travel partners (hotels and airlines) to award points for check-ins with your smartphone.  e.g. register with Topguest and connect your foursquare account and you get 50 points when you check in with foursquare at or near a Hilton hotel. Topguest offers many check-in bonuses so you could potentially earn hundreds of thousands of points per year with this hack.  It depends on how much time you are willing to put in, but a few minutes per day can easily earn you hundreds of free miles per day.  


This is a great way to make some extra points when you are traveling and taking flights and staying at hotels etc but why limit yourself to bonus points when you are traveling when you can get bonus points everyday with a little hack.  


e.g. With United and Continental - You can get up to 100 mileage points every day = 36,500 free miles per year = up to 2 free domestic US return flights = per person. You can also sign up family members to multiply the bonus many more times.


What you need - First register with each of these Topguest partners if you want to maximize your miles or focus on just a few of your favs: e.g. 


           TopGuest United (Update 06/17: Link redirects to topguest with no option to enter United#)


If you decide to just focus on United miles do the following:


1.) Sign up for a free United Airlines frequent flier account if you don’t already have one


2.) Sign up for a new foursquare account (even if you already have one) and use the gmail hack so you don’t need to use a new email account (optional). Important: You need to use the same name in the new foursquare profile as you have for your United Airlines profile e.g. if your United profile has your name as Joseph Bloggs your new foursquare profile name should be Joseph Bloggs (this will ensure your miles get credited without any issues.)


3.) Register with TopGuest United and connect your new foursquare account


4.) If you are lucky enough to live or work or commute within a few miles of one of ‘these’ airports you simply need launch the foursquare app and login using the account you connected on the TopGuest - United link.  Then select the airport and check-in. You will get a confirmation email shortly afterwards confirming you just earned 50 miles. Points usually show up within 24 hours.


If you are nowhere near one of these airports, you need to use the hack to spoof your location first then check-in as above. Open multiple foursquare accounts and link different United / Continental accounts or hotel accounts to repeat the above bonus / reward many times.


Enjoy the miles/points and let me know how you get on.


UPDATE: YOU CAN NOW AUTO CHECK-IN on FOURSQUARE


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.


Tags: .Travel Hacking - Tip #4 - Topguest Foursquare Hack..
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Sunday, 1 April 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #3 – Foursquare Spoof Check-in Location Hack

UPDATE: YOU CAN NOW AUTO CHECK-IN on FOURSQUARE


There are so many bonuses, discounts and rebates available with apps like foursquare but the problem is you often need to actually be near the location in order to ‘check-in’ to get the reward – right? – WRONG! 


Even though the native foursquare phone app uses GPS and cell tower triangulation to restrict you from a check-in outside a certain radius of your actual location, you can spoof you location quite easily using your desktop computer or a standalone app on your phone. Basically, you can make it ‘appear’ as if you are in a certain location i.e. any location, even a different country. You can then ‘check-in’ to the spoofed location with foursquare to collect the reward.  I currently use this hack to check-in with foursquare at an airport every day to collect 50 miles per check-in.


How to spoof your location so you can check-in to any location


1.) On your PC or MAC or phone you can first download Tweetdeck. Add your foursquare account and choose any location to check-in from or schedule a future check-in. 


The limitation here is you can only add one foursquare account to Tweetdeck but it is so fast and simple to spoof your location this way.


2.) You can use the mobile version of foursquare on your computer or phone.  Then choose the option to change your location. Follow the prompts and check-in to any location. It takes a few more steps than Tweetdeck but it still works.


3.) Phone Apps can be faster.  For Android phones you can google ‘Location Spoofer for Android’ or ‘Fake GPS Location for Android’ and follow the instructions to install the app.  For iOS you need to jailbreak your iPhone first then install an app like ‘LocationHolic’ from Cydia. 


I use this method as it’s the fastest way to spoof your location for multiple foursquare accounts.  I have 4 foursquare accounts setup specifically to collect a 50 mile per day check-in bonus at an airport (even though I’m not close enough to an airport). Do the math 4 x 50 x 365 = 73,000 FREE miles per year! (more to follow on that in the next blog post)


Do you spoof your location to collect rewards and if so how?

UPDATE: YOU CAN NOW AUTO CHECK-IN on FOURSQUARE

Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here
.
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #3 – Foursquare Spoof Check-in Location Hack, Location Spoofer, Social Media Check-in Hack..
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