Thank you to Half Hour Happy Hour for featuring my email on their podcast.
If you are here because you heard about us on their show, welcome. This post will be updated along with anything that comes up on the show that is related to travel hacking.
If you haven’t heard of Half Hour Happy Hour, it is a hilarious and entertaining podcast about interesting stories the hosts come across each week. Check them out at nerdist.com or iTunes, soundcloud, youtube, twitter, etc.
Finance Punk’s email was featured on the episode titled “ALI-SAN Bitches!” from September 4th, 2017.
Notes from 09/17/17 Episode:
There is in an interesting discussion on the value of a dollar in this episode.
As I have said before, it is really important to pay attention to your spending habits and try to avoid overspending especially when you have huge lines of credit and need to meet minimum spend requirements for welcome bonuses.
Personally, I don’t usually buy products I don’t need and I try to get the best price for everything from toilette paper to computer equipment using a combinations of rewards points, shopping portals, amex offers, and other discounts. That being said, I do vastly overspend on restaurants and bars so I need to work on that.
Anyway, the HHHH people touch on the weird way we value different things in our minds even though the actual dollar value might be opposite.
In the points game and personal finance in general you should always be looking for the most value per dollar or per point. That value is going to be completely different from person to person but a couple checks to do when making purchases and rewards redemptions can be helpful:
- Break purchases down into costs per year
- Internet Access $800/year
- Macbook Pro $430/year (Purchase price/years of use)
- How much would I pay for this in cash?
- e.g. points redemption for $200/night hotel but normally you send $100/nigh on hotels
- Cash always has more value in the long run
- Points only have value when redeemed but cash can gain interest, capital gains, etc
Putting a little more thought into how you spend your money and points could go a long way.
Thought: Moving to a new ISP could save me $300/year – definitely worth an hour long phone call
Thought: Holding off on buying a new MacBook for a year saves me $55/year – $100/year if I hold off for 2 years.
Alex also talked briefly about writing checks. Don’t write checks. You are just asking for people to forge them and draw on your account. Instead, pay for everything with a credit card and get rewards points and then either make bill payments from your bank or have them pull the money directly out of your account.
I’m not going to go anymore into it than that but check this WSJ article out for more information.
Notes from 09/11/17 Episode:
Nothing related to travel hacking or finance.
Notes from 09/04/17 Episode:
Alex talks about how you can use American Express points on amazon.com.
You can… At $0.007 (.7 cents) per point… Not a good value.
American Express Membership Rewards points are generally valued at around $0.02 (2 cents) per point due to their transfer partners (primarily airlines). I have received $0.125 (12.5 cents) per point in value before on first class ANA tickets to Japan!
The most straightforward comparison is that you can transfer MR points to a Charles Schwab account at a rate of $0.0125 (1.25 cents) per point if you have the Charles Schwab Amex card (which I would highly recommend for this reason).
So, a $100 amazon purchase would be 14,286 MR points if you shop with points on amazon or you could transfer just 8,000 points to a Schwab account at then buy that $100 on amazon with a high rewards earning card (like the amazon card from Chase) and pay the card off with the $95 in Schwab because you will get $5 back on the amazon card.
That 14,286 points is worth $100 on amazon when you shop with points but it is worth $178.58 in cash via Charles Schwab.
That’s all for now but as always I am happy to answer any questions in the comments of this blog or at firstname.lastname@example.org