Travel Rewards for a Spring Break Win
Our family just got back from an amazing spring break trip to the Bahamas, and it was a case study in how beneficial using travel rewards can be, both in the big obvious ways, but also in more subtle ways that add dramatically to the experience.
The obvious wins were using American Airlines miles for 4 round-trip flights from Richmond to Nassau, Bahamas and using Marriott points for five free nights at the Atlantis Bahamas resort.
The resort alone would have cost us over $800 a night which was reduced down to $0 (there are some pesky resort fees, but we would have paid this either way).
The cost per night, with the “5th night free” promotion on Marriott redemptions was under 60,000 Marriott points. This is about as good as it gets for Marriott points in my experience.
The small additional benefits that make a huge difference that I’d highly recommend you looking into:
- TSA PreCheck and Global Entry: We couldn’t imagine travelling without TSA PreCheck at this point – it makes that much of a difference zipping you through the security lines at US airports. We actually applied for Global Entry a few years back and when you’re approved for that program it includes TSA PreCheck. We were able to bypass a 90+ minute customs line with Global Entry when leaving the Bahamas, so that made a massive difference right there. Many of the premium credit cards offer a reimbursement of your Global Entry application fees, but even still, it only costs $100 for five years.
- Priority Pass Lounges: I recently got the Capital One Venture X card and this gives you Priority Pass lounge access, which we took great advantage of on this trip. After skipping the 90 minute customs line leaving the Bahamas (see above) we were able to relax and enjoy free food and beverages in the lounge, and then we had a long stop in Charlotte where we spent over an hour in The Club CLT lounge (nicest lounge I’ve ever been in, with delicious food and attentive service).
- One of the biggest hacks I know of in travel is the Charles Schwab Bank Investor Checking account which gives you an ATM card that you can use anywhere in the world and you will never pay ATM fees as Schwab literally reimburses you the fees. We didn’t need cash in the Bahamas this time, but I’ve used this card in Greece before and it’s amazing how well it works. We leave this open with a small bit of money in there and fund it before a trip just in case we need access to cash.
As always, if you’re looking for all our resources on travel rewards, you can always find them at ChooseFI.com/travel
Exercise as the Best Longevity Tool
Dr. Peter Attia is someone I obsessively follow, so it’s no surprise I’m devouring his new book “Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity.”
The biggest thing that jumped out to me, and surprised Dr. Attia, in all of the research that went into the book, is how critical exercise and strength training are to living a long, healthy life.
Here’s a quote that illustrates it perfectly:
“I used to prioritize nutrition over everything else, but I now consider exercise to be the most potent longevity ‘drug’ in our arsenal, in terms of lifespan and healthspan.
The data are unambiguous: exercise not only delays actual death but also prevents both cognitive and physical decline, better than any other intervention. We also tend to feel better when we exercise, so it probably has some harder-to-measure effect on emotional health as well.”
– Dr. Peter Attia
I wanted to take a minute to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of the publication of Brian Feroldi’s book, “Why Does The Stock Market Go Up?: Everything You Should Have Been Taught About Investing In School, But Weren’t.”
As I said a year ago in this newsletter:
“Simply put, this book is incredible. I think it vaults instantly into the top tier of essential personal finance books, and is a must-read for anyone who wants to, among other things, understand the stock market, what it means to invest in stocks, how to consider how stocks are valued and why the stock market goes up (and down).”
It’s also a good time to remind you that ChooseFI has published a number of other books that are extraordinarily useful for people in different stages of the FI journey (click here to find more info about each of the them):
- Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence
- The Simple StartUp: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Business (for young entrepreneurs)
- The Golden Albatross: How To Determine If Your Pension Is Worth It
- Dani Mendonsa’s Baobab Money Tree series of five children’s books
- ChooseFI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence
ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week
- Jessica said, “My 1% better this week was sorting out my 401k. I had to reset the password to even get in there, then I transferred all my funds out of the default high expense ratio fund. I also increased my contribution amount from 6% to 15%! I’m relieved I finally sat down to do this, it was pretty simple.”
- Cheryl said, “My husband and I booked a trip to Florida next month to visit some friends and 100% so far has been using miles and/or hotel points! No out-of-pocket expense for airfare, rental car, and hotel! That leaves more money for golf, food, and fun!”
- Zuhayr said, “My 1% better recently has been making use of some of the benefits the military offers while I’m still in. A couple of weeks ago I passed the US history I CLEP exam that I was able to take for free with DANTES funding, and this week I am scheduled to take a DSST exam on business mathematics also funded by DANTES. I have also enrolled in a university and am making use of the Navy’s tuition assistance program while I still have it available. I also discovered that Salesforce certification exams are free for the first and second attempt for military members/veterans and there is even a Salesforce fellowship program available for military/veterans who already have a certification, so I plan to work on getting a certification with Salesforce when I’m closer to getting out of the military.”
- Leia said, “My 1% better this week was reevaluating our budget after buying our house which encouraged me to change my 401K contribution to ensure I will max out this year. Additionally, my husband and I booked tickets to see my family in Scotland using our Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus points costing us a whopping $0 for flights to Scotland with a day layover in New York allowing us to see Scotland and New York without paying for flights.”
- Holly said, “My 1% better was buying a used car sub $15k. My husband and I have been looking extensively for a second vehicle but hate the idea of a large car payment. We actually bought a $46k nearly new vehicle and returned it the very next day after a sleepless night. We wound up with a 2014 Toyota Prius that gets around 38mpg. I couldn’t help but think of you, Brad, when you replaced your Civic with… another Civic!”
- Garret said, “Our 1% this week: My wife and I recently had a baby. When it came time to pay the hospital bill my wife simply called the hospital and asked for a discount. Without question, they offered to lower it by 25% saving us several hundred dollars!”
- Kaitlyn said, “My 1% better is that I finally opened a HYSA with Wealthfront. Until listening to ChooseFI I had no idea my emergency fund could have been working harder for me all those years, just sitting in a basic savings account.”