Episode One: Podcast Introduction


You’re listening to the Hurdy Gurdy Travel Podcast. I’m your host, Justin Vacula with how to travel the world at next to no cost through acquiring credit card signup bonuses, perks, and rewards. This is episode one – Podcast Introduction.

Rough Transcript:

You’re listening to the Hurdy Gurdy Travel Podcast. I’m your host, Justin Vacula with how to travel the world at next to no cost through acquiring credit card signup bonuses, perks, and rewards. This is episode one – Podcast Introduction.

How do you start traveling the world at next to no cost? You sign up for a new credit card and — after spending enough to reach introductory offers, signup bonuses, or minimum spend requirements – you sign up for more. In most cases, credit card welcome offers provide the most bang for your buck, about 15-20% return on your spend, so it’s essential to acquire multiple credit cards and multiple signup bonuses rather than, as most people do, using only a handful of credit cards or even fewer giving a minimal return of around 1 to 2 percent. Worse yet, people use debit cards and cash for their purchases getting a 0% return on spend and paying fees merchants absorb – paying a fee for something they don’t even use! Instead, maximize your spend by placing charges on credit card after credit card getting hundreds of thousands of points and perks like airport lounge access, hotel statuses, casino statuses, TSA Precheck, and airline statuses.

If you don’t fly or travel often, you can build points and miles to use for an upcoming trip even a local hotel stay rather than, as many do, save up a chunk of cash and spend hundreds of dollars they could have saved if they used rewards from credit cards then complain about being broke or living paycheck to paycheck. You can fly first class and stay in great hotels for even one or two great vacations a year.

Perhaps you’ll save travel plans for vacation time from work, during major holidays, or weekend trips – it’s all possible thanks to credit cards. If you don’t travel at all or really need the cash, you can very often convert points to cash and employ a different card strategy.

Let’s consider extreme value gained from one great credit card in my wallet: the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I spent $4000 in 90 days and paid an annual fee of $95 for a welcome bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points and even more points gained from the spend – some in the dining and travel categories which gives two times points per dollar. For just 5000 of the 60,000 points, I stay at Hyatt House and Hyatt Place hotels also with room upgrades, late checkouts, and free breakfasts which normally are $150 before fees – from 60,000 points, this is twelve nights at really nice hotels which include free breakfasts for me and guests. Points can also be transferred to airline partners like United and Southwest at a 1:1 ratio or used through the Chase travel portal powered by Expedia for 1.25 cents per point with 60,000 points being worth $750. …and this is just one card of the twenty or so I’ve used in the past year.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred and other cards, I’ve funded five-night Hilton stays paid for with points; a round-trip flight to Athens, Greece; round-trip flights to Las Vegas; a trip to Chicago; multiple stays in Atlantic City; and I plan to travel to Hawaii in coming months. I’ve gained more than 575,000 points through signup bonuses in just one year! I plan on getting even more cards to continue funding my travel aspirations and significantly reducing my lifestyle expenses.

This credit card hobby, you might imagine, requires discipline and organization. I started very small with just one card and little information and, after some research, participation in online communities, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, I became more and more knowledgeable and have had some wonderful travel redemptions feeling more confident about what I was doing.

I like numbers, I like research, I like figuring things out, I like trying innovative methods, I like pushing the envelope, I’m unconventional. What I’m doing is quite uncommon and it works. It’s quite fun to have the joy of free, funny to appear like a high roller and make that redemption finally seeing everything was well worth it. I’ve met many new people, shared the fruits of credit cards with others, and have saved tons of money even outside travel as this hobby has opened my eyes to so many ways to save money through good deals! Extreme couponing is child’s play compared to what happens in the credit card space!

Some criticize this hobby or are skeptical wondering if it’s worth the effort. They say, “That’s too much work for me.” To that, I say that the invested effort is well worth the outcome. For me, I have lots of fun with this hobby and generate thousands of dollars in value each month. Start with just one card and see how it goes for you. Build up and get more cards when you are more comfortable. Many hobbies, rather than making money, cost a large amount at the end of the day! This hobby generates experiences many only dream of! In many cases, anyway, we’re trading time for money and I see that this is very much worth it. What, after all, comes for free? Is working a traditional job worth the effort, especially those who make between $10-15 an hour? To me, working for months in a job to fund travel is “too much effort.” The time required to open and manage credit card accounts is quite minimal, the risk is low, and the returns are huge. I’ll respond more to criticisms of credit cards in upcoming episodes.

Some worry about me, but everything is okay. I pay off my credit card balances, I’m not going into debt, I’m not overspending, I’m only buying what I can afford, and I’m staying on top of things. You, too, even if you don’t have many expenses, can greatly benefit from credit cards. Even if you have little to no credit history or bad credit, you can work on improving your credit and ought to because the benefits from this hobby and having good credit are amazing. There’s a card and plan for those who can be disciplined with their spending.

Starting out, it’s easy to make mistakes due to not knowing about particular rules banks have, especially Chase, which typically denies credit card applications if you’ve opened five or more personal, non-business credit cards in the last 24 months. We want to, starting out, respect this rule known as the 5/24 rule so that we won’t miss out on Chase cards, especially their business cards, which have amazing signup bonuses and benefits. People also make mistakes when they focus so much on categories – approaching cards wanting to get, for instance, cashback when spending on gas, but they fail to gain huge signup bonuses. Even with a card that gives 5% back on gas, you’d have to spend $10,000 to get $500.

Why not, instead, place $10,000 in spend across different credit cards and get far more value including various perks and signup bonuses? Again, signup bonuses and travel credit cards are generally more valuable than cashback cards – especially those lacking signup bonuses. I’ll explain some of these finer points and credit card strategies in future episodes and this is where I come in – I offer you tips, tricks, and strategies so you can succeed. I’ll also tailor specific recommendations for you based on your credit scores, expenses, travel goals, and other considerations if you complete my credit card questionnaire located at hurdygurdytravelpodcast.com.

For me, there’s no such thing as too many credit cards, I want more and more to continue gaining valuable points, miles, and perks. In some cases, later in this game, I’ll even get cashback credit cards if the offer is good enough and I’m in a good situation with my travel-based points. Travel cards, though, typically provide more value than cashback cards especially if you’re new to the hobby and don’t have many cards. There’s an element of waiting in between credit card applications because, if you open too many cards in a short amount of time, banks will start declining applications, so some time and patience is needed while you work on signup bonuses and even, in some cases, high spend goals on cards offering bonuses if high amounts of spend are achieved.

Some in the credit card hobby will employ creative methods to increase spending like asking family members and friends to allow them to make purchases and get reimbursed. Some fund business expenses on their credit cards. Others resell at breakeven or for profit before credit card rewards. Some will pay expenses in advance through purchasing gift cards. Many use their credit cards through payment processing services like Plastiq to pay expenses which normally are paid for with checking accounts or cash. Anyone, with discipline and smarts, though, can benefit from this hobby! Your level of effort, if high, as is the case in most areas in life, will lead to bigger bonuses or returns – access to some of the most valuable destinations in your mind including Hawaii, Bora Bora, The Maldives, Japan, and so much more.

If you’re new to all of this, I welcome you to join my hobby of travel through credit cards. Stay tuned for upcoming episodes talking about specific credit cards, strategy, points redemption, and much more. If you’re an intermediate credit card user or relatively new to the hobby, you’ll still learn a good deal through this podcast as I’ll talk about my personal experiences, offer trip reports, talk about new developments in the credit card space, and discuss new methods I am experimenting with to gain points. I’ll also talk about credit cards which aren’t heavily discussed. Credit card experts will learn about many tools I use which fly under the radar and will surely enjoy trip reports. I’m happy to hear your feedback, too! I’ll also talk about personal finance and my frugal lifestyle teaching you how to save money, spend well, and shun desires so that you can save and invest!

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for more content!

Visit my website at HurdyGurdyTravelPodcast.com where you can complete a free credit card questionnaire to receive tailored recommendations, view helpful resources, listen to my library of episodes, contact me, and connect with me on social media. Support my work through Patreon, Paypal, the Cash App, and referral links by visiting the donate tab on my website.

Visit my other podcast project at stoicsolutionspodcast.com where you can find practical wisdom for everyday life inspired by the ancient philosophers of Greece and Rome.

Thanks to generous patrons and fans of this podcast who help support my work. Have a great day.

Support my work through Patreon, the Cash App, Paypal, and referral links:

Find Justin Vacula online and listen to past content:
Main website: https://hurdygurdytravelpodcast.com

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/hurdygurdytravelpodcast

iTunes: to come…

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8EcIcoNU1HK4KKhQtTkAWw

Stitcher: to come…

Google Play: to come…

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HurdyGurdyTravelPodcast

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HGTravelPodcast

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/justinvacula

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