What Travel Insurance Doesn’t Cover

We’re all at a disadvantage in the travel community. As budget travel aficionados, chances are most of us don’t have attorneys on retainer. So when companies decide to find whatever reason they want to deny honoring their promises, there’s nothing we can do. They can do almost whatever they want to consumers because we have been priced out of the legal system that was put in place to protect our rights and unless they’ve lost our baggage or injured us somehow, our travel insurance won’t cover this.

As a Travel Hacker, I have invested a lot of time and some money into completing promotions, earning bonuses, and anything else I can to earn travel rewards. It’s necessary to know that companies will honor their promises, otherwise we risk the investment.

I once went to a Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express in Wales to complete IHG’s Set Your Sights promotion. This would give me an additional 50,000 points upon completion. Long story short, their system messed up and they didn’t want to fix it. Instead, the customer service representative told me that they do not consider Holiday Inn Express’ as Holiday Inn properties (WHAT?). I was told that there was no way I would get the additional 35,000 points I had been promised.

IHG Set your sights

Another situation; late last year Discover teamed up with Apple to promote Apple Pay and offered huge bonuses that could come out to around 20-30% cash back. After a few days, they changed the terms and conditions to disallow the purchase of gift cards.

They then started denying people their cash back claiming they had purchased gift cards, even if they hadn’t. They informed their customers that they required proof that they didn’ purchase a gift cardt. This means that we consumers were guilty until proven innocent. Anyone who didn’t keep their receipts ended up losing their their hard-earned cash back because Discover decided they didn’t want to keep their promise.

Most people would end up just accepting being taken advantage of like this. No way would they spend $200-$500 to talk to an attorney and have them send a letter demanding their rights be honored. No way would they spend thousands in court to fight for a few hundred dollars.

Companies know this and this is why we’re at a disadvantage, because who’s going to force them to do what’s right if it’s not in their best interest? It needs to stop. No longer can we accept being taken advantage of. No longer can we let companies do whatever they want to us. We have rights and we deserve to have them fought for.

Josiahs Letter from IHG

I received the additional 35,000 points with an additional 500 goodwill points to total 50,500 for completing the promotion. I didn’t spend a lot of time and energy yelling at customer service reps or managers. I also didn’t spend $500 for an attorney to write them a letter or thousands to fight in court. I also received all of the cash back bonuses that Discover had originally promised.

Now I have the advantage because I am a member of LegalShield and have been protected since I was a baby thanks to my parents becoming members about 21 years ago. All I had to do to protect my rights and get what I was promised was call a LegalShield attorney.

The LegalShield attorneys have written many letters for me to companies who didn’t want to keep their promises. They have gone to court for me to protect me for auto incidents. I also have a Living Will in place in case anything happens to me, while traveling or not, that didn’t cost me anything extra.

IHG Letter1 IHG Letter2

With over 4 million members, LegalShield is able to provide top quality attorneys to it’s members throughout all of the US and 4 provinces in Canada. That means wherever you are, you are protected if whatever company has a base in the US or Canada.

LegalShield and their IDShield are necessary insurances to protect our, and our families, rights and identities at home and abroad. Everyone should have these services, but especially travelers and travel hackers.

If you see value in protecting your rights and preventing yourself from being taken advantage of again with LegalShield, use the links in post or click here to sign up via my affiliate link to support the blog.

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How I made $1300 Grocery Shopping Last Month

update: BlueBird has shut down many accounts of people who have used them to Manufacture Money Spent as in this article and others. While not all have been shut down and it is still possible to open accounts and do a bit of MMSing, it is dying and should not be seen as a guaranteed option.

Ever felt like you needed a bit of extra cash? Ever been unemployed and unsure of where your income will come from?

Travel Hacking is not only good for earning points and miles toward travel. It can be used to create a decent source of income, enough to mimic a $20,000 job after taxes at least.

I’m currently living in Las Vegas for a few months before my upcoming trip to Europe in February. I’m sharing a house with a resident teacher while I explore a new relationship.

My plan before coming was to become a substitute teacher as soon as I got here, but it took longer than expected, leaving me unemployed. However, thanks to Travel Hacking, that doesn’t mean I’ve been without income.

Wells Fargo Rewards

I created over $1,300 in September from Wells Fargo Cash Back Rewards by shopping at grocery stores. Of that, only $300 was expenses, leaving a profit of $1000, non-taxable income.

How do I do this? I recently wrote about a Manufacturing Money Spent (MMS) strategy that I use to make it look I’m spending up to $35,000/month. I actually only take a max of about $400 out of the profits. I do this at grocery stores such as Smith’s, Albertson’s, and Wynn Dixie.

With the Wells Fargo Cash Back Rewards Card new card holders earn unlimited 5% cash back at grocery stores, gas stations, and drug stores the first 6 months. When applied to the MMS strategy, the only limit to how much can be earned is how many like you.

Things to consider:

  • Currently, there is no sign up bonus, although if you are a WF account holder, there may be a offer of up to $100 cash back.

 

  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 12.15% – 25.99% variable APR. It’s always best to pay off credit cards in full each month, but it’s nice knowing that for the first 15 months, it’s not necessary, just remember to pay the minimum.

 

  • No annual fee. This makes this card great for the first 6 months and then forget about while it slowly boosts your credit score.
Wells Fargo Cash Back
Ask not what you can do for it, but what it can do for you!

I have run into some issues with Wells Fargo that has caused me to lose out on quite a bit of cash back, but I have solved the problems so you don’t have to.

First, when going to buy gift cards or make a large purchase, call WF and have them put a pre-authorization on the account. After a while, WF will notice the pattern and large purchases can be made without pre-authorizations.

Second, when paying off the card, instead of sending money from BlueBird straight to the card account like normal, withdraw the money to a checking account using BB’s settings page (preferably a WF checking so payments will apply instantly,) and then pay the credit card.

This is a bit more of a hassle, but since BB isn’t a checking account, WF says they can’t verify that the money is there. They will hold payments for up to 15 days before allowing it to effect available credit.

A bank account can only be added to 2 BB accounts, so I send the money from my other accounts to the 2 that are linked to make the withdraw. BB states that accounts are limited to sending up to $2,500 per month and receiving up to $10,000, including the $5,000 load limit.

This means that $20,000 can be withdrawn to one checking account each month. If you plan to MMS more than that, then have a second bank account ready or plan to send some money straight to the card and be prepared for a possible hold on the credit limit.

I recently wrote about how to earn up to $3,000 per Discover Card account.

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How to earn up to $3,000 per Discover Card

Update: BlueBird has shut down many accounts of people who have used them to Manufacture Money Spent as in this article and others. While not all have been shut down and it is still possible to open accounts and do a bit of MMSing, it is dying and should not be seen as a guaranteed option.
Update: As of 10/9, Discover announced that Gift Cards would not be eligible for the additional 10% bonus. According to a representative at Apple, Apple Pay does not provide any additional information about transactions than Discover  normally receives. It is unknown if Discover will be able to enforce this exclusion.

Discover recently announced that they will now be available to use with Apple Pay. With this, they announced that when a card holder uses their Discover It, Discover It Miles, or Discover It Miles and Getaway’s card, they will receive an additional 10% bonus on the first $10,000 spent on in store purchases on top of the current cash back.

The offer is available on September 16th and runs until the end of the year. It is only available on the Apple Watch or IPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus.

Discover Card

This promotion takes Cash Back up to 11% on all purchases and 15% in revolving categories for the Discover It card and 11.5 % for the Discover It Miles and Discover It Miles and Getaway’s card’s.

The INCREDIBLE thing is for cardholders who signed up for the Double Points or Miles promotion this year, then ALL of the points or miles earned this year are doubled. This includes the points and miles earned during this promotional period.

This means that the 11% and 15% earned with the Discover It card and the 11.5% are doubled to 22%, 30%, and 23% on all in store purchases! When the full $10,000 is spent, card holders can earn $2,200, $3,000, and $2,300.

If a holder, like myself, doesn’t plan to spend $10,000 on in store purchases before the end of they year on any or all of their Discover cards, they can refer to my post on Manufacturing Money Spent.

With MMS, card holders can spend $119 on 20 $500 gift cards to hit the $10,000 limit. This would leave profits of $2,081, $2,881, and $2,181.

If you don’t have a version of the IPhone 6 or Apple Watch, you could buy one and use the profits to repay yourself. Apple sell’s theirs for $545 + tax. You could also find them cheaper used or with cell phone contracts. You could get the AT&T Access Card which gives a $650 credit toward a phone to cover the cost. You could borrow a friend’s or you could buy one and take advantage of the return policy.

Iphone 6

If you don’t have a Discover Card, it may be worth it to apply for one to take advantage of this bonus, even without the double points and miles bonus. Without the bonus, there is still $1,000 of profit to be made from each card.

I’m going to be buying and returning at least one IPhone 6 to take advantage of this promotion. I have the Discover It and It Miles cards, both with double cash back promos activated. I’m then going to be using my mother’s and sister’s Discover It’s without the double points activated.

I will be using these four cards to earn about $6,000 this month, $4,000 now, $2,000 at the end of the year when the Double Bonus is completed.

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