It’s New Year’s: the traditional time to ditch bad habits and improve yourself. I’m sure you’ve seen all the FitBit and organization store ads. I’ve even told you about the give back box. This year I’m taking a good look at my travel hacking habits and have found 4 that I’m chucking to the curb with the recycling. I’m also coming up with a replacement strategy that I hope will help you going forward.
Travel Hacking Ditch #1: Less Status Hamster Wheel, More BYOE
No more December stays at the local Hyatt for stays 20-25 to achieve top tier status. Especially not this year since stays would have to have occurred in February to beat the new program. I’ve toyed with letting status go for years and decided 2017 is the year of Be Your Own Elite. If it’s not earned with a credit card or a status match, I’m letting it go. If I want a suite, club access, or breakfast I’ll pay for it. We could pay in points, cash, or even use the benefits of a friend. Whatever we do it will be less expensive overall than paying for stays we don’t need to earn “free” benefits.
Speaking of using the benefits of a friend- Deal Girl thinks I’m a hero thanks to all of the Hyatt Mattress runs I’m doing for friends. She’s the only girl who gets on the bus with a tummy full of diamond breakfast. The math might still work for some, but it just doesn’t work for us anymore. I recommend you run some numbers before stepping back on the wheel this year.
Travel Hacking Ditch #2: Less FOMO, More DGAF
FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) runs rampant through travel hacking and is the chief cause of Vendoming. I’d like to think myself immune but even I fall victim to Instagram envy from time to time. This year I’m especially vulnerable because the travel schedule is light due to the remodel.
I should mention that our “light” schedule means we only have six weeks booked- perspective much? So this year I plan to fully embrace Matt’s concept of DGAF (Don’t Give A F$@) instead of worrying what everyone else is doing. The best lesson I learned from 2016 came from a poem carved into the wall at an elementary school in Puerto Plata:
In other words: You do you. The rest is just noise.
Travel Hacking Ditch #3: Less Collecting, More Convertibles
The only constant I see in the travel hacking space is change. With that in mind the strategy that makes sense is to stop collecting points in a bunch of random programs and to focus on the convertibles: Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Starpoints and good old cash. Before you apply for another card, think long and hard about how it fits into your travel hacking strategy.
I’m especially bullish on cards that give more on flexible travel spend like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I just signed up for that one for both myself and Deal Dad. If you have a Chase branch near you you have until March to get the 100K signup bonus (direct non-affiliate link). $450/year with a $300 travel credit for 100K ultimate rewards points? Total no-brainer for us.
Travel Hacking Ditch #4:Less Blogs, More Friends
One of the best moves I made for 2016 was focusing more on friendships in the travel hacking community. By coming out from behind the keyboard I learned much more than I could have reading. So while it’s not in my pageview best interest, I’m going to recommend you also focus on more IRL (in real life) efforts and less time reading the same post written by 10 different bloggers. You’ll get what you need (and if you miss an occasional deal you’ll get the next one) and have more time to do, well, you.
What travel hacking bad habits are you ditching? Please share in the comments.
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