You’ve Been Hacked By The Airline Companies
There is an online orgy going on with multiple websites talking about travel hacking. From credit card churning to purchasing Visa cards and paying your mortgage/rent on your credit card. There are courses which you can take online to teach you about travel hacking. The reason for this post is to simply state the only thing getting hacked is your wallet when it comes to travel hacking. Manufactured spending is still spending. If you are already spending a lot of money, such as if you own your own business, then perhaps it makes sense but for the rest of us it’s just another financial trap.
What is travel hacking? It’s accumulating mileage points in order to travel for nearly free through credit card churning and manufactured spending. One can design a complicated system of money and points shuffling that will allow for free airline tickets, free hotel stays and all sorts of other stuff. When I say free, I mean that when you go to book the hotel you are using points or some other similar system to pay for the travel arrangements – by no means is an airline gonna transport your hairy ass for free.
Not only is the travel not free, but these points aren’t given to you because you are pretty. The free companion ticket wasn’t uploaded to your account because your love-making abilities surpass that of… I don’t know, who is famous and good in the sack? The point is that you obtained those points by spending money. Sure, a portion of it came by shifting common expenses from your debit card to your rewards credit card.
Remember, we aren’t talking about a business that is putting all their expenses on credit cards. My friend J. and his family own nearly 100 fast food franchises all over the US, their monthly expenses are absurd and much of it is put on credit cards. His parents haven’t paid for an airline in a long time but I assure you they have paid for very nice hotel rooms. Even successful entrepreneurs like his folks will get nicer hotel rooms because they saved money on their airline tickets – I assure you there is a kickback program between the airlines and the tourism industry.
The problem with this travel hacking is that you are becoming more and more dependent on spending money, on using credit cards and even worse, you are becoming reliant on your credit history. I am not against having a good credit score, however, I am more in favor of getting quickly to a point where you don’t give a fuck what your credit score is. My intention is to become less dependent on spending money or needing money. Having the smallest monthly overhead while still living a gratifying, free, and positive life is the goal for this early retirement freak here.
In a span of 1.5 years I accumulated quite a bit of points for both Amtrak as well as 3 major airlines. This allowed me to travel for very little money. Unfortunately, the cost of travel is much less flight expenses but also includes food, entertainment, ground transportation, shopping and alcohol.
If you are planning on living a simple, comfortable and carefree life then you aren’t gonna chase down points, keep track of credit cards, maintain your credit score, make Target runs to buy some shitty Visa cards in order to have virtual cash.
If you are a treehugger or give a shit at all about the environment then you’ll likely minimize your jet-travel and you won’t care to have a bunch of paper mail sent of to your house with plastic credit cards being printed for you that you’ll just throw out 3 months later once you have collected the bonus points. I realize that this may seem extreme but come on now, at some point we gotta call out that the Emperor is ass naked. Putting your plastic & glass containers in a different trash bin picked up by giant diesel trucks and recycled by huge coal-burning factories is brilliant. Also brilliant is for the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in some far off destination that all the world leaders fly to on massive jets along with ground entourages.
If you churn through enough credit cards and create all this manufactured spending the rewards credit cards will eventually throttle you. Then there are those who have become online celebrities who are still masturbating over their point-accumulation ways even though they know very well that they have pretty much gotten every bonus point out there. The credit card companies are now sending them letters warning them that they don’t appreciate that person’s credit card churning methods and no new cards will be issued to them.
So, save some bandwidth, save your sanity along with the environment and don’t fall into this intricate trap of running up your points. Don’t spend $7,000 so that you can get a $562 airline ticket for ‘free’. If you are truly that frugal pick up an extra shift and make that $562. Save an appropriate amount of your income in order to fund your future, live on a reasonable amount and do something good with the other 1/3rd.