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077 | Travel Rewards | Marla Taner

Experienced travel rewards optimizer and world traveler Marla Taner shares story of reaching financial independence, and her best tips for getting to Hawaii, Costa Rica and the Caribbean with minimal expenses, using credit cards points and air miles.

What you’ll get in this episode:

  • How Brad and Jonathan come to know Marla
  • What does it mean for Marla to be 3rd generation FI?
  • What lessons did she learn from her parents and grandparents in regards to managing finances?
  • How did Marla learn to budget as a teenager?
  • How did Marla reach financial independence?
  • Why is Marla committed to being fully retired in her 40s, without any side jobs?
  • As an early retiree, with lots of time for self-reflection, what activities and aspirations has Marla come to embrace?
  • How did the Vancouver Olympics jump start Marla’s habit of travel rewards?
  • Airfare Tip: redeeming British Airways miles through Alaska or American Air allows you to travel to Hawaii from the West Coast for just 25,000 air miles.
  • What is a “sweet spot” in regard to travel rewards?
  • How does the flight booking process work with the British Airways travel rewards?
  • Getting to Hawaii from elsewhere in the US: points through Korean Air, which is partnered with Delta.
  • How would someone determine if they’re getting a good deal on travel rewards?
  • What is Marla excited about in travel rewards this year?
  • Vacation Tip: Stack your Southwest Companion Pass with Marriott Nights and Flights for a family vacation.
  • Costa Rica Tips: Fly Southwest from Houston or Fort Lauderdale, redeem points for the Hyatt.
  • Do travel rewards actually end up costing more money?

Top Travel Rewards Offers


Top Travel Card

Ready to unlock a world of free travel? Start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Details: $95 annual fee | Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Most Flexible Travel Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can be used to offset almost any travel expense.
Details: $95 annual fee | Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Best Card for Side Hustlers and Business Owners

Side hustlers! With the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card you can earn free travel from your business expenses.
Details: $95 annual fee | Earn 120,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Other links mentioned in this episode:

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.
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