The Last Plane Home

S1 Eps 8 - An Intro to Points and Miles

February 08, 2021 Guy Guyton / Max Do Season 1 Episode 8
The Last Plane Home
S1 Eps 8 - An Intro to Points and Miles
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we speak with points and miles expert, Max Do, on how to get started with using points and miles. 

Max has traveled across the globe using points and miles to travel on a budget. 

In this episode, we talk about: 

  • What is travel hacking and is it for you?
  • How you can build points and miles strategy and
  • Steps to get you started with traveling today


Want to get in touch with Max? You can reach him on Instagram @maxmilespoints!

Have you subscribed yet? It only takes a second and it's the best way to never miss an episode.

Make sure you stay in the loop with the latest travel tips by joining the Last Plane Home newsletter here! We love to spoil our listeners with goodies, travel tips, and inspiration.  Never miss an episode.

We’d love to hear from you, our listeners. Share your travel stories and tips with us and hey, maybe we’ll add them to our show! Feel free to give us your feedback and tell us what else you want to get from this podcast.

Do you have any questions about what you heard? DM me on Instagram @Travelwithguy or tweet me @travelwithguy_. Feel free to ask a question or just say hi!

You can follow more travel stories on our website, at www.travelwithguy.com, or on Instagram. We post daily travel tips, stories, and inspiration @travelwithguy. 

Until next time travelers, Peace!

Guy Guyton:

Hey there, and welcome to the last plane home podcast. On the show we talk about all things travel and how to get you there. We keep you up to date on the latest travel themes and what's going on outside of your own bubble. I'm your host Guy Guyton and today with me on the show, we have points in miles expert Max. Max has been earning and redeeming miles and points since 2016. During the day, he's a graphics and multimedia designer, but by night does much of the same thing, but more of a focus on points in miles. He runs an awesome Instagram account at max points miles, where he takes more of a visual and graphics approach to teach other travelers how to earn and redeem miles and points. In this episode, Max and I will cover what is travel hacking, and Who is it for? How you should think about starting your own points in miles strategy, and how to get started today with travel hacking. Okay, travelers, I'm pumped, let's get into the episode. Hey Max. How's it going?

Max Do:

Good. Thanks for having me.

Guy Guyton:

Pleasure to have you on. Definitely a fan of that awesome Instagram account.

Max Do:

Thanks.

Guy Guyton:

Max helped me help me set the stage a bit. Maybe give me a bit of your history. And how did you get started with points and miles?

Max Do:

Yeah, that's a good question. So I started points in miles at around 2016, like you mentioned, kind of just really started out of nowhere. I mean, I really I was, I was living in Chicago at the time. I'm originally from Southern California. And so let's flying back and forth between Chicago and California, quite a lot. And I just wanted to travel like, like a lot of us who just want to get out there and travel. But the problem is, I mean, the money, right? It's always it's always a cost is always an issue. And traveling is expensive, and flights, hotels, and then money. And it's like the experience and everything is great, but it's expensive. So I was trying to figure out ways to travel more, but obviously spend less. And I started off by just following a bunch of people on Twitter and then found a couple flight deal websites, and then followed them on Twitter and turn on notifications. And I remember like, exact moment that I got that notification that kind of gets kicked off like this miles of points, I was like standing in a grocery line and got a notification about a slight deal to Hawaii. And it's a little tricky. It's not like it's not a lot of people started this way. But I was following this website, you got a deal to Hawaii for like $500 from Chicago. It's not a screaming deal. Not a super cheap deal. But the kicker was that I can fly this flight and then take advantage of the American Airlines Platinum challenge. And then within one flight, I was able to hit platinum status just flying to Hawaii and back and so I literally went there for a weekend and came back went by myself and stay at an Airbnb. real true mileage run. Yeah, it's true mileage run and so after that went down the rabbit hole of like searching on like, instead of paying $500 for this flight, how can I get it for free and so looking up miles and point strategies, credit cards and and how to essentially maximize airline miles credit card points hotel points to travel more travel for less money.

Guy Guyton:

That's awesome man. I don't know many people who start off a new hobby with one of the more extreme versions of mileage run. For those who don't know, a milege run is basically where you're finding a cheap flight to go as far as possible. Depending on when you started the the rules keep changing. But a lot of the airlines were distance based so the further you go, if you can find a cheap you can kind of break this system and get status a lot quicker. And I think that's totally nerdy. I did the same thing though. I just before this COVID thing started I went to I went to China for 24 hours flew into went to Beijing just to get diamond status a delta. Yeah. Now like is it still gonna be a thing?

Max Do:

Yeah, that and also a lot of airlines going revenue based makes it tough for these mileage run now these days. And so super cheap fares like, I've done my fair share of like flying to Vietnam for on like $250 flights and from Chicago to Vietnam, and then stay in it for 10 hours. And then flying back. There's two in 2018 I think across the Pacific at least, like around 10 times, just doing mileage runs and dropping in Japan for for two hours. Go into the lounge, showering and getting on the same plane back to the US some pretty crazy stuff.

Guy Guyton:

But maybe those mileage run days are a little limited nowadays, especially with COVID and revenue base and all that stuff, but I know it's gonna come back. I mean, it can be a few of us dinosaurs telling, telling war stories, like, doesn't make any sense anymore.

Max Do:

Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Guy Guyton:

So, you know, one of the things here, I always joke about points in miles because like a mom had the saying, If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is but clearly you and I both had these amazing experiences that well for me personally, I didn't It was possible beforehand before using these like hacking systems. Maybe you could explain to the audience, what is travel hacking? And who is it for it? Can I confirm you're not a millionaire?

Max Do:

I am not a millionaire, and I don't spend hundreds of 1000s of dollars on travel every year. But yeah, I mean, like he said, it's like, it almost sounds too good to be true. And three, I mean, like, we also call it travel hacking. And so some people get a little skeptical about hearing word travel hacking, because they imagine us like computer hacking, or like doing something very illegal or around redditors, who were just like, in these secret forums, and yeah, which we're not it's like, what, like travel hacking, and this mile points game is completely legal. And, and there's nothing illegal about it, it's totally, like, totally legit. It's just more of just using knowing the rules and, and understanding, like routing and how to use miles and points so that you can travel more for less money. And so it's like, not a lot not I mean, like people don't understand or, like, there's times people don't understand that. Like, say, john buys a ticket to Japan, right for $900. Like, I can get on the same flight and just use miles and points and pay maybe $10 in taxes. And so that's essentially what it's all about. It's like earning and redeeming miles and points so that you can travel more for less money.

Guy Guyton:

Yeah, I think there's, you know, there's two main players here, you have credit cards, who make money based off you running up a balance and then proving interest. And as an incentive to get you into that potential spot where you could be running a balance, they give you these incentives, right and points is in points and rewards become that that notion. And if you ask any of the travel hackers, we're not running balances, we're not playing subject to that component. So that's one half of the players. And then the other half of the players are airlines and hotels who have extra availability, they they want to shove those planes full as possible. And if they can get a cash value, they're like, hey, let's get more incentive. So you have folks right on our steel on our metal.

Max Do:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's I think travel hacking is for me, travel hacking, and is miles points is really for anybody that likes to travel, and whether like you go the credit card route or not, or you or your work pays for your travel, you can still earn miles and points and then redeem them for nice hotels, free flights for your hotels, and it's still all in use all the benefits and perks to to be able to travel more for less money. And like if I had to travel, if I had to sum up travel hacking in one sentence, it's kind of like using, I guess, non obvious tips, tricks, hacks and writing different methods, so they can travel more for less money. And that's kind of what we do is that, like, nobody likes reading turns conditions, nobody likes going through route rules and all that stuff, but be put in a little bit of work, then you can get a lot out of it. And so I guess there's that's kind of like travel hacking in a nutshell.

Guy Guyton:

Yeah, becomes its own hobby within itself, which is slowly reading more forums and reading the terms and conditions and then building up building up a point strategy and then figuring out cool and fun ways to use those points.

Max Do:

Yeah, I mean, that's one of my sayings is that it's like, the more you know, the further you'll travel or the more you'll be able to travel that's especially true with this travel hacking and miles points is that the more you know about like the changes, or the updates, or the promotions and all that stuff, then the better you're off able to kind of take advantage of those promotions and kind of get more out of your travel and, and all the good stuff that comes with lounge access and first class upgrades and all that stuff.

Guy Guyton:

So we've we've determined it's aboveboard, it's kosher. It's fine. there's a there's a system, there's rules and sounds like there's a lot of reading and fine print. How do I in 2021 Get Started travel hacking, you know, if I have a credit card or two or I might just have like a they have a Southwest card pretty common. And that's it. I just got it because someone told me I should get this. Where do I start?

Max Do:

I think the way I kind of describe travel hacking and miles and points is a kind of like a five step process. Okay, so you plan you earn, you redeem, you travel, and then you repeat. And so like part of the planning process is like understanding what miles and points are. And knowing that American airline miles are called a advantage miles as simple as that or like we use an American Express card, you can earn American Express membership rewards points. And same thing with Chase. Like if you use a chase card, you can earn chase ultimate reward points. And so kind of planning and understanding what miles and points are and kind of planning of where you want to go or who you want to go with or what kind of experience you want or where you want to go. And so you can say for example, like I want to go to Thailand with my wife, and I want to go in business class the entire way. And so that's kind of a planning process of kind of determining what you're looking for where you're trying to come And then, then once you know we're trying to accomplish, then you kind of go into figuring out how many miles, how many points will take you to get there. And then like jumping into earning, it's like, you're going to get your credit card signup, bonuses signing up for the right credit cards, and then kind of figuring out where you spend your money. So you can maximize your dollar, every dollar that you spend your miles and points. And then then once you earn your points, then redeem them. And then the best part is traveling. And the awesome thing about miles and points and travel hacking is that it's a continuous cycle. You can repeat after that. And so you can go to Thailand and 2021, hopefully, after COVID, all that stuff. And then in 2022, you can go to Greece or something or Yes, yeah. So that's a great thing about this is that you can do it as long as you want. And it's like a repetitive cycle that you can continue to keep doing. Yeah, I always tell people look, these are these are systems, right. And it's not just to two camps, I'd say there's the folks who have a trip, a trip they want to do, and they align their strategy entirely towards that.

Guy Guyton:

So one, one example is like the Singapore Airlines first class suites, the couple suites just on the bucket list, for sure. It's like the suites that are joining, and you can basically pull it down. So you get two seats, and you basically create your own cabin, and three nights. And so you would think, okay, so I need to get any clearly fly on Singapore, how do I do that. And you can see sort of finding the cards or the transfer programs that help you balance that out, and you stack your points accordingly in order to do and then maybe one things we talk about is like how you what are some of the key ways you gain points, right? I know there's their spend and aligning span. And we should talk about how that's just everyday spend, you would already do? And then the other one is the the credit card bonus. Max wanna give us a little color there?

Max Do:

Yeah, for sure. So I mean, I think there's, there's multiple ways to earn points. And I think there's the credit card route. And then there's also the non credit card route, I'll put them into two camps there, right. And so like the non credit card route, would be more of like, actually traveling. And so like if you travel for work, or if you are work pays for your travel and all that stuff. You always put in your frequent flyer account, you always put in your hotel loyalty point account, and you earn those points as you travel. And it's not like it's, it's, it's probably the slowest way to earn points and the most expensive because you actually have to fly Yes, spend the cash, you have to. I mean, it's like, if your employer pays for it, then it's not too bad. But if you have to do it yourself, like me, I don't I don't get to travel for work that much. And so if you have to spend the cash to spend the time on the flights, and you have to stay in those hotels to earn those points. Yeah, from your travels like a huge part of it in day one recommendation is just sign up for every loyalty program. And every time you use something like don't miss out, even though it's slower to your point, like, just don't miss out what you're doing. If you're there, you're earning those points, earn them get them in your bank. Yeah, for sure. And I mean, it's a it's a multi earning miles and points. It's a multi prong approach, right? Yeah. So yeah, it's a you have to have like multiple income streams, you have to have multiple miles of point streams. And so actually traveling is one of them. And then, I mean, there's also like shopping portals where you click through an airline shopping portal to buy something on, like, for example, I don't know, banana republic or something right, or Apple, and you clicked through American Airlines shopping portal, they'll award you extra points for using their shopping portal. And so they get a referral, they get a small kickback, and then and then in return, you get some miles. And so that's I mean, I guess that's the the two non credit card routes as well as travel and the shopping portal. Yep. But it's like, it's like, the credit card route is quite different. And some people are turned off by the credit card side of things. But like you mentioned earlier, it's like, if you pay off your balance every every month, in full and on time, and don't, it's like, I don't even pay attention to the APR rate because I never pay the entrance interest rate on these credit cards, because that's part of miles and points is that you earn these miles and points to these credit cards. And it's like the banks, the banks are hoping that the people that get these credit cards don't pay on time. And you don't want the banks to win. It's kind of like us against the banks, right? You you collect, you collect the rewards and stuff. But you don't want them to take rake that take back any of the money and stuff that you that you all the awards, or the value of the awards that you've received. But yeah, these these cards are so high and they're stacked, where if you're paying, if you're carrying balances, you're gonna lose all benefit of this. It's you're entirely out of the game at that point, if you plan on carrying any type of balance in any writer. Yeah, and so as like I always warn people it's like, I mean, try to get out of debt, before you jump into miles and points and start signing up these credit cards if you have a history of, of not paying on time and things like that. And this not this might not be a hobby for you. But yeah, I mean going further into the credit card route. I mean The best way, the quickest way to earn miles and points is through signup bonuses. And so these cards, they have these signup bonuses where you sign up and you spend XML within this timeframe, then they'll give you a big chunk of points. That's kind of like their customer acquisition kind of proposition to get you to sign up for these credit cards.

Guy Guyton:

So you remember back in the day when you sign up for a bank account and then give you like a toaster or like a beeper?

Max Do:

Yeah, like a Costco bag if you sign up for the Costco credit card, but yeah, like points is kind of like bad version of it. So there's a signup bonuses where they give you a big lump sum of miles and points and the other way is also spent. And so spend is something where it's like, you get a multiplier, multiplier. So say, a Amex gold, right for x points. And so four times points for every dollar that you spend on groceries. And so if you use that card at the grocery store, you spend $1, you get four points. And so that's the everyday spend aspect of credit cards that you can get or earn miles and points is through through using your credit cards and the multiplier multipliers. And then also the the signup bonus as well. And so two streams of income, I mean, amount of points income from credit cards. Yeah. And then it becomes just the game of Okay, so we're at the restaurant, which card are we using? Or the gas station? whatever we're using? Yeah, I can't I just like I like when we were able to go out and eat with friends and stuff, we'll just battle over the check, because we want the points and then everybody else will then Venmo. You afterwards. It's always it's always fun when you go out to the group and and have to fight over who gets the who gets the check. Yeah. and stuff.

Guy Guyton:

For the points, we have pretty clear rules about that, where if someone has a new card, because the thing about these cards, is you get all these new new cards for initial span, there's usually something you have to clear usually about three months, and it's between one and three K. And the reason that is is the credit card companies are trying to get you used to spending and moving some of your things out. Like if you have things that are scheduled, they want you to move that over there. So you're always using that in Manero. They reward you for doing that earlier on. So you have the minimum spends. And so one of the great ways to clear that spend is when you go out to dinner with friends and stuff, like if you have a if you have a bonus, and you're clearing you always Trump.

Max Do:

Yeah, that's true. Yes. You got to make that clear with your friends that I'm trying to hit minimum minimal signup bonus. Yeah, I get to put up my card down first. That's so funny.

Guy Guyton:

I had friends who before. When I first started this were like using debit cards. And I was like, how dare you? I will. Yeah, that's like an easy Venmo conversation. Oh, yeah, for sure. So then, okay, so we've we've earned points, we've set our strategy, what is maybe talk us through a little bit about like redemptions? And I think you just got back from a pretty cool trip, too, right?

Max Do:

Yeah, I mean, just flew out to Aspen for the weekend. Unusual Aspen trip for snowboarding on miles and points, of course. And so I mean, that's the benefit of maza points is that it affords you some opportunities or travel opportunities that you otherwise wouldn't really kind of think of. And so it was kind of like, I'm sitting there, like, the weekend before, but like, Oh, I want I kinda want to go snowboarding next weekend. How can I get there? Like a place to Aspen? It's like $600, maybe not. But then you look at American airline miles, like, Oh, that's an American airline miles. And it was only 7000 miles. I mean, 7000 American airline miles to fly to Aspen each way. And so it's like, oh, yeah, this is this is a good deal. So doable. Yeah, this is doable. I mean, yeah, it's the benefits of miles and points in like hotels like Aspen snowboarding season skiing season six $700 $500 a night, oh, I have Hyatt points. I'm gonna use higher points and not pay this 567 $100 nightly fee and so. So yeah, I mean, just the benefit of 1000 points and, like into redeeming things. It's like fine, I guess, flights and hotels that are expensive, or doesn't have to be expensive, but just redeem your miles and points. And so I guess part of the whole thing is that knowing how to redeem your points and miles and and where to redeem them, and art of it, it's like for flights, it's understanding airline alliances, right? And so say an example would be Virgin Atlantic, which is an airline, you wouldn't typically usually never fly out of the US because they're London base. But if you know that they partner with a na, which is a Japanese airline, you can transfer your chase points to Virgin Atlantic to fly in a for a really good price for really good, really good points redemption. And so that's a pretty crazy example. But, but something like that. It's like knowing the partnerships, knowing the alliances and things like that. For example, another example would be like, I want to fly Lufthansa right, a German airline. And I know that united partners with London has Do I fly Lufthansa and so the way I would do that would be I would transfer my points to the United. And then United's partnership with Lufthansa. And so I can, obviously, redeem my united miles to fly that flight that I want to.

Guy Guyton:

Yeah, I'm team delta, that is my main go to especially being out of New York for so many years. Aligning yourself with a hub is so convenient, it's so clutch to do direct flights and avoid the layover is I would, I'd highly recommend that. And so, but I would say that from an from a partnership perspective, I feel like united and the International, you know, the sweet spot so much more with United. And so I earned a lot through business travel Delta points. So I, you know, I feel like I had a bank there. So a lot of my credit card spending earn was, you know, on the chase, that I could transfer to United and then get to Europe and hit some of these hubs and things like that. Delta is obviously got a huge hub in partnership with like, KLM. And getting into Amsterdam, like if you want to just a lot of my trips would be fly to delta through Amsterdam, and then switch airlines once I'm on European soil, because it's a lot. I mean, there's so much value once you're already over there, once you cross the Atlantic. So that's part of like how I build my strategy to And to your point, it doesn't like when you think of redeeming, I think there's, there's a lot of camps here. Some people just look for the best value and just get kind of a rush of, yeah, you know, this cost $10,000. And I got it for you know, these points. And that's certainly a class and I use it much more of what I want to go. And then I look it up and I see like, what's the pricing? And then, like almost itemize it, like right here the flights? Does it make sense to pay cashier or points and break it down and hotel and things like that?

Max Do:

Yeah, for sure. I think Originally, the way I started my Instagram was I tried to get like the maximum value out of your miles. And that's what's called max miles. points, right? Yeah. And I was like, oh, man, like, Why are these people using their points to go fly to Tulsa, Oklahoma, like this? doesn't make any sense. But as I like progress through my guess my miles and points journey is starting to realize it's like, it's not a matter of getting the maximum value out of your miles and points. It's more of, of using your miles and points to to get the travel experiences that you want. It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks it doesn't matter what cent per mile or cent per point or anything like that. It's a matter of getting the travel experiences that you want. Are your travel goals reaching your travel goals with your miles and points? Yeah, I couldn't agree more. It's, you know, it's an individual journey. And there's so many different paths here. I mean, once you understand the rules, there's like almost independent options, and you can you can pair it off that way.

Guy Guyton:

The only thing I would say is to that is don't buy gift cards. Just don't buy it. Like don't redeem your cards. Yes, yes. Yeah. That's always one of the worst redemptions.

Max Do:

But I mean, if you're if you're happy with a $200, Applebee's gift card, I mean, more power to you. It's like, just use your points for Applebee's gift cards out though. That's, that's, that's cool with me, right? It's the way I think it's like it's it's an apple geek Applebee's gift card that you wouldn't have had. And so that's another way to look at it, I guess.

Guy Guyton:

Alright, so I think we know more about building earning honorable but more about burning. So if I want to get started today, like what are some some tactical things you think I should do when listening to this?

Max Do:

Yeah, I mean, getting started today, I think I'm all about just start doing stuff. And so I think a lot of people kind of get caught up in thinking about it, like thinking about travel hacking, thinking about how they're gonna do it and stuff. But I think you just got to jump in and start start doing things. And so number one is like sign up for your loyalty, loyalty and frequent flyer programs like you, like, like you did when you first started your job and started traveling. Yeah, having all those accounts set up so that you know them and so that when you're at the airport, and you need to input your number or anything like that, you have those ready to go. And then also just start searching. I mean, after you have those accounts set up, start searching for award tickets, getting an understanding of how many miles it takes to get to somebody somewhere, right and so like if you sign up for a united account, and it's free to search and it's super easy, you have to do like a couple clicks and so you want to go to LA from LA to Las Vegas, instead of switching instead of going from a for a cash ticket you click on a book an award ticket or news miles and get an understanding of how many miles it'll take you to go from LA to Las Vegas. And I mean that'd be number two, I mean number three would be kind of just start looking at credit cards. I mean, like like we're discussing like credit cards is one of the easiest and the fastest way to earn miles of points and that you can earn miles and points by just going to the grocery store and using your buying unusual groceries like eggs, milk and stuff like that you'll you'll earn miles and points and interest Start kind of doing some research on some credit cards and kind of figuring out where your spend is, and which credit cards would best fit your spend categories. And so like we go to the groceries a lot, find a car that that does get gets you a lot of miles and points at a grocery store, if you go fill up gas a lot, you drive a lot for work or something like that, then get a credit card that they'll earn you a lot of miles and points on gas. Yeah, it's like just just getting out there and just start start doing things. And it's like, follow just google like, there's so many travel hacking trails, miles and points, resources online. And so look those up on Twitter, on on their blogs, and stuff like that and start reading things up. And yeah, just just get out there and start doing stuff.

Guy Guyton:

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I mean, I think, just start slow. You don't have to be an expert, and day one and redeem all these crazy things. It's like, find, the cool thing about these credit cards is whatever your spend the most on, whether it's gas or flights or whatever. It's like there's something that lines up with that. Just do a little bit of research there and just open up one clear bonus, and then go from there and reassess. Super.

Max Do:

Yeah, I mean, I started with the chase, Sapphire preferred, like a lot of us. It's like, it's a great beginners card. Because I mean, it's like a 60,000 point bonus. And right now and the minimum spend is I think it's like 4003 months. Yeah. And I think it's like, it's with the annual fee. And so like, a lot of people complain about annual fees, right? The Chase, Sapphire preferred has an annual fee of $95. So you go from using a debit card, and you're like, oh, why do I have to pay an annual fee? Why would I do this? Right? But I mean, it's like, I always still recommend the Chase Sapphire preferred because one, the 60,000 point bonus, like you can turn that into cash back if you wanted to. If you really hated travel hacking and miles and points, and you didn't really care for it after the first year, you can turn 60,000 points into 600 bucks. And it's kind of like, like bank bonuses, right? It's like, it's there's just you just can turn into cash back and then call it quits and downgrade the card or cancel the card if you want. Or you can just redeem the 60,000 points for $750 worth of travel in the chase portal. And so it's really like a low risk way of getting into miles and points. And I mean, it's just, it's just easy to start with the Chase Sapphire preferred.

Guy Guyton:

Yeah, there's so many justifications and ways to think about it too, like, especially if you're traveling a lot. International card, right? So you're not gonna get foreign, you're looking at foreign key. So if you're traveling spa, and you're worried about conversion, here's one or one of the other fringe benefits is they have great travel insurance. So if you were going to pay for insurance on that car or trip, whatever it is, there's another justification, like if you were gonna pay an extra, right, you're getting closer to chunking that away, and there's a lot we can get into it. But yeah, I mean, low, low frill, you can just clear what you can clear that 95 very easily.

Max Do:

Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Guy Guyton:

Alright, so I always want to leave a spot if you have any questions for me.

Max Do:

I want to hear what your miles and points travel goals are.

Guy Guyton:

For this year, I think the move is going to be the Maldives, Maldives, it's, it's most of those islands, they're their private islands. And so there's a lot of resorts across Hilton and bonvoy and high end, folks. And most of them basically have their own island in the mall, the chains. And there's a lot of, there's some complexity until like, how you like how you transfer like your flights and things like that, and what's available, and usually spares availability, it's always been a trip. It's kind of my radar. And I'm like, I'm really had to think through logistically how to plan this. But I think at some point, I'm just gonna break and say, I need to travel, I need to go somewhere. And I think this might be the time to go to a private island. Like you're thinking about quarantining and things like that, it's like, it's usually a pretty expensive spot, but you can just you can definitely hack that like this is a point where you're getting maximum value, if you schedule and you're flexible and timing, which any universe where I could planning be in the studio for an entire year, like I can be pretty flexible on the dates here. So think that's my going to be the next thing. I'm going to spend more time digging into finding the right timing. And then the other thing I've been thinking about a lot of 2021 is like I move I literally moved to California so I can travel to California during this shutdown right where I don't where I can feel a bit more responsible and drive places and be socially distant things like that. And sorry, so you know it Sorry, I came I came from legacy SPG. So sorry, Bond boy, but that's a piece SVG a great business credit card to just so many so many great things. Yeah, I think is really stepping up. And I think there's a lot of higher properties that you know, SPG had the branding, so they could charge a bit more and then do it and they had business travelers and they knew it. So they just charge whatever they want. Like you were gonna click here take all my money, like I don't care. I think Hyatt has been kind of like waiting in the winds. And I think there's a lot of points hacks with these luxury spots, even in the state that I want to check out. So those are kind of the two the 2020 21 ones and then just grandfather goals, right? Some of these suites. I want to do right, the JFK Frankfurt route is a key one and there's actually no Have you heard about this one the the bus, the bus ticket from I think it runs maybe Houston to Sydney. It's like a 16 plus 16 or 18 an hour. Right? And you can get like a bus. It's like an economy, the economy seat where they grew up three together and you kind of see bolted together. Not like super luxury, but I just think it's hilarious that they have like a couch.

Max Do:

Oh, yeah. Is it isn't on the air in New Zealand that's doing that right? Yeah, yeah.

Guy Guyton:

Yeah, yeah. Yes. That's what it is.That's right. I don't know if it's gonna exist anymore. Yeah, yeah.

Max Do:

No, those are definitely awesome goals. I mean, the Maldives or one place? I haven't been but like every miles and points travel hacking. Yeah, there's so many different guides. There were so many different ways to travel hack that one. So. So yeah, that would be pretty awesome. And like everybody like has their different hacks like bringing their own food to the island or, or figuring out which is food so expensive there, right. So you can always you can you can travel, hack your way there, but, and then maybe free breakfast from your hotel status or something. But then you have lunch and you have dinner. And you have to figure out how you're gonna pay for those because they're like us like $100 or $200 a meal.

Guy Guyton:

Oh, it's insane. And private island. Like it's insane. But also, it's one of those spots where like, you wake up and there's a turtle underneath you. Like how is there? It's like there's a glass enclosure? turtle underneath me? Of course. I want to do this.

Max Do:

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah. And then like, Hi, like you mentioned is, like, Am I real that I posted yesterday? It's like, man, I love like, I love high Ed. And that's one of the reasons why I like collecting chase ultimate reward points is that you can transfer your chase ultimate reward points to Hyatt at a one to one. And then there's something great, like hotel point hotel nights days in the US. Only 5000 points. And so that's super Yeah, that's, that's super cheap. And then also, like, one of the examples I pulled up, in my real is that the hotel in Paris was $1,000 a night. But you can use 30,000 points. If you transfer chase points to Hyatt and stay there for only 30,000 points and not have to pay anything out of pocket is pretty awesome.

Guy Guyton:

That's what SPG used to be those kind of redemptions. You'd get all that value all the time and bond boy, it's hard. It just feels like you're spending a million points. And you're like, I don't really know how much this is worth like. Yes, technically I do. But it's like, it just feels like you're throwing points at it versus it doesn't feel very stable anymore. Yeah. Yeah, I definitely know what you mean. It's like, yeah, it's like Marriott points, like, the values are. I mean, the numbers are so high for Marriott and stuff like that. It just, it just feels weird. Like, well, I'm gonna spend 80,000 points on this one place. And it's just, I mean, like, it's 39 point points. Yeah, for a night. And so it's like point values are different, different programs and stuff. But a Marriott is kind of kind of odd. doesn't feel good. I get like they're comparable values, but just doesn't feel good burning through a home like a six figure point balance at once.

Max Do:

Yeah. I mean, like back on the topic of like, SPG. It's like, I had a bunch of SPG points and totally weird story. I won't go into much detail as to why it might take up too much time here. But my work does a charity auction every year. And for three years in a row, they're auctioning off 100,000 SPG points. And for the first first year, I was like, I was just getting into miles at points in the first year. I was like, I don't really know what 100,000 SPG points are worth. And so some guy bought it for like 500 bucks. Yeah, and then that afterwards, I did some research. I was like, Oh, no, I should have bought those SPG points for 500 bucks. And so the second year, I was like, I'm gonna buy this. I bought FPGAs for the second year, though. They're on auction for 600 bucks. And then I think the third year I bought it for $800 because people started catching on that, that how valuable these are. Yeah, how valuable the points were. And yeah, I mean, like I racked up I held on to those and then we transition the transition over to To Marriott and so those got the three times multiplier and got a bunch of Marriott points out of that. But But yeah, that's that's my SPG to Marriott story that merger and just redeemed all of them before they introduced category but but yeah, good Good call. Yeah and I was I just remember reading that with bated breath like every time we get those emails like what's gonna happen? What's gonna happen? This is the worst. All right man well this has been awesome chat if the listeners want to ask you questions How can they get ahold of you? Just find me on Instagram at max miles points and DM me, I reply back to every dm. So just find me on there.

Guy Guyton:

Awesome, man. Well, appreciate having you on today.

Max Do:

Thanks for having me. It was fun.

Guy Guyton:

And hey, travelers, that's our show for this week. We really appreciate max coming on the show and sharing his experience using points and miles. Feel free to reach out to him and give him to Michelle while you're at it. We'll link all of his contact information in the show notes below. Hey, if you're listening to this, we'd love to hear from you to share your travel stories and tips with us by reaching out on Instagram at travel with guy or on Twitter at travel with guy underscore. Feel free to give us your feedback and tell us what else you want to hear on this podcast. Also, thanks so much for everyone who's already subscribed to the show. This really helps us grow and it only takes a second if you haven't. Make sure you never miss an episode by clicking on that subscribe button now. And if you'd like to read a transcript of this episode, you can find that in more on our website, www dot travel with guide calm. Okay, I'm getting out of here. Until next time travelers

Intro
What are points and miles
How to build your points strategy
Get started with points and miles today
2021 travel goals
Outro