Name me one major credit card issuer that has not tightened the rules for credit card churners in the last two years…
I’ll save you the legwork and tell you that almost every major bank has cracked-down on opportunists like myself. What does that mean for the future of free travel? It means we have to incorporate other point-streams that don’t involve new credit card accounts.
20x Miles per Dollar
Now, before you starting clicking through and buying high-end headphones to flip, you will have to read the fine print: Electronics are excluded from portal bonuses
What does that leave us to maximize this insane bonus? Well I like flipping backpacks on eBay. Today I purchased 10 backpacks from eBags and 5 from Oakley. Don’t laugh.
You Bought 15 of What?
Yep, I bought 15 backpacks for a total of $1,550 before taxes. On eBags I bought $1,100 worth of backpacks and on Oakley I bought $450 worth of backpacks. I researched extensively on eBay to see what I can flip and not lose money. At worst I will breakeven, at best I should make about $15 per backpack.
The reason backpacks are an easy flip is because they are generally light to ship, can’t break while in shipment, and don’t really depreciate like electronics do. They don’t sell super quickly but they are very predictable when priced correctly.
It’s beautiful, the boxes come to my front door and I schedule free pickup from USPS when they sell. Talk about earning miles in your P.J’s!
How the 30,000 Miles Add Up
- $1,100 via the United shopping portal @ 20x on eBags = 22,000 United miles
- $450 via the United shopping portal @ 2x on Oakley = 900 United miles
- United’s current promotion, spend $1,500 or more before 11/19 and receive 5,000 bonus miles = 5,000 United miles
- I used my Barclay Arrival + card which earns 2x points, effectively 2% back = 3,285 Arrival points worth $32 in travel
Grand total = 31,185, of which 27,900 are United miles. If you value United miles at 1.3 cents a piece, that is $362 in United miles and $32 back from Barclay Arrival. Oh yea, I also earned $55 in eBags rewards, I think I might get me a few neck pillows for our upcoming Asia trip.
A one-way in economy from the US to Europe is only 30,000 United miles, that includes countries such as Georgia and Armenia.
You can also fly from India to the Middle East for only 22,500 United miles one-way. The beauty in this routing is that many times you will have to connect in European cities like Istanbul, Vienna, Frankfurt, Brussels, and Zürich, since those are Star Alliance hubs.
If you book hidden-city, meaning you leave the airport and don’t finish your other flight segments, you can save some serious points.
As shown, by booking hidden city to Tel Aviv you can get from Mumbai to Frankfurt for 7,500 miles less in economy and 20,000 miles less in business. The current cash fares for this Mumbai to Frankfurt non-stop are $525 for economy and $1,949 for business class one-way.
(35,000 United miles for a $1,949 flight is redeeming at over 5 cents per mile, whoa)
And as always, hidden city flights MUST be booked as one-way’s and you CANNOT check luggage since it will end up in Israel, not in Germany. (in this example)