Saturday, 14 December 2013

Project Vegas: The Traveller

Once upon a time, a certain special someone mentioned how much she liked Las Vegas. She had only been there once, but had always expressed a desire to go back there. Unfortunately, we were both University students that had accrued a significant amount of debt. But despite all of that, I promised that I'd find a way around it and take her back one day.

Then again, she promised that she'd love me forever. Funny how things change.

Wow, even just rereading some of those break-up posts are making me depressed.

Yes, the purpose of this project was to find a way to take my then-girlfriend (now ex) to Vegas without breaking the bank. Airfare was always a massive barrier, and if there was a way to significantly reduce the cost (or fly for free) it be a huge help. In the end I managed to not only accomplish that, but potentially find ways to get hotel rooms for free too.

I never had the heart to change the name of the project. I don't know why. It was always for her as I have no interest of going back to Vegas. I've been there twice and once to the Asian equivalent, Macau. Maybe some small part of me hoped that she would have had a change of heart by the time I got this project to work and we could have gone together.

Unfortunately, I'm still single. You'd have seen a blog post about it had I gotten back with her.

Ok, I'll stop being depressing now.

Onto how this project works.

It was simple really, potentially abusive but hey, that's not my problem. See, there are lots of credit cards with rewards, but most of these rewards are junk. The amount of points gained per amount spent is worthless, points can't be spent on things that are actually worth anything, you have to spend a ludicrous amount to get anywhere, or get charged a yearly fee for owning the card.

But once you find a card that works, now we can have some fun. Most of the time you're looking for cards that ask you to spend X amount of dollars in Y amount of time to get Z amount of points. And then when you've spent said amount, cancel the card if there's a yearly fee. Reapply or get a new credit card until you can travel around the world as many times as you want.

And honestly, I'm pretty sure most people can spend over $1000 dollars on groceries in the span of 3 months. So it's not like you're going out of your way to spend more. Also, spending $1000 on things you need to get 40,000 airmiles? That's a pretty good deal if you ask me.

Nice.

That is, if you're an American.

The first project update post I did back in January mentioned that Americans have an edge over Canadians. You Americans are so lucky, I found nearly a dozen credit cards that would have worked with great rewards. I could have flown to Japan twice and back for free with points to spare. So I had to make due with what I had left.

And then we hit the second roadblock. The few cards that remained required that I be making X amount annually to even apply. Great, my limited student income was limiting me in more ways that one. So Project Vegas went on hold for many months.

Until I got a full-time job as a dispatcher.

I saw an opportunity, and I grabbed it. I applied immediately to one of the cards I picked out months ago and the instant I got it in the mail, I started spending. Did you know that video games purchased counted too? It's true!

I regret nothing.

Unfortunately, I got laid off, meaning that I no longer qualify for some of the other cards. The good news is that I still managed to get all those points in time. The card I used is the American Express Gold Rewards card. It's funny because I still had to use an American card to get a significant number of points.

Spend $500 in 3 months to get 25,000 points which convert to 25,000 Aeroplan miles. You still earn 1 point per dollar spent and double points on groceries and travel related things so in the end you'll have at least 25,500. The first year is free and I fully intend to cancel this card sometime in August or September before my free year is up. I hear that some cards will try and plead with you to stay by giving you extra points if you delay cancelling for a week. We'll see if American Express is that desperate to keep me in the future.

So, I have at my disposal nearly 26,000 airmiles, I have no interest in going to Vegas, so what will I be doing? I want to go to Maryland, Baltimore. I'll only spend a fraction of my points, and it's about time I did something nice for myself.

Why you may ask? If you couldn't tell, I like video games. And for the last two years, there was this gaming/music convention that I wanted to go to, and now, I have a way to go. Hopefully I'll be making plans to go to Magfest in January. Last year two of my favorite bands were there and right now, they aren't on the current list of musicians.

I hope that changes.

32 comments:

  1. The first part of the blog post was quite sad but the second part sound promising..Go to maryland, spend some time for urself there..who knows u might find someone whom you can travel the whole world with..:)

    All the best

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  2. So basically you get yourself a credit card with a "first year for free" thing, buy a lot of things with the card, cancel it, and then get the same card again using the "first year for free" thing? Or do you move onto a different credit card? If the former, seems like a rather obvious loophole they should be able to prevent. If the latter, sounds like a lot of work, but totally worth it from what you're telling!

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    1. I've found people who have successfully cancelled cards up to 4 times before the company said "Enough is enough" so it depends on the card.

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  3. I like the word travelling for free!

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  4. Wow I am looking to go to Germany in the spring but plane fare is going to be a hurdle so I may have to look into this! Hadn't thought about it before.

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  5. I actually know a guy that helps run Magfest

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  6. Well Maryland, Baltimore sounds lovely! And of course you should go there! Vegas is SO over rated! LOL! No offence to Vegas peeps! LOL! But Maryland sounds like the place to be!! GO! Enjoy! Have fun!! Make some fabulous memories!! Yay! Take care
    x

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  7. Baltimore is a hopping town, I've been there many times. :) Congrats on accumulating the points to go for free!

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  8. haha ohhh this, yeah I stumbled upon this on my last trip to ny. Got a card and got 20,000 free. Used it for gift cards and such. Back up to like 20,000 again on it, may go for a trip. i was going to cancel it after a year to to avoid the fee, but they never charged me the fee lol so I kept it.

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  9. That is actually a really smart idea. Except doesn't your credit score go down if you cancel too many credit cards

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    Replies
    1. It does. But as long as you pay off each statement on time in the long run it will help your credit score.

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  10. Thanks for this update! I actually learned something. I might start doing something like this in the not-so-distant-future.

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  11. I hope you can go to the gaming convention. It'll be a nice end to a story with some depressing parts. I don't think I could spend that much money though. It'd be nice to have some airmiles given that I want to go to 'Murrica but I think I'd rather buy the trip straight up than get a credit card.

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  12. Yes, use those airmile points to give yourself a treat! You deserve it.

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  13. Video games are awesome :)

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  14. Well, I'm glad you're planning a fun trip for yourself!

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  15. Very cool to hear that you got a card that works for you and you might hit up Magfest. I still can't believe that people pay to spend their money when companies will pay YOU to spend it. I have a card with cash rewards. I buy everything with my credit card. Then I pay off the balance entirely every month. Easiest extra spending money I've ever made.

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  16. Quite an ingenious way to get airmiles

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  17. Wow. What a time. It does not seem to be going well. I hope you find a parter soon. Being single can be a little lonely at times.

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  18. That is awesome that you get to go to this convention. And have some crab!

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  19. If you can't make an ex girlfriend happy, video games will do! Heck they'll do better! They wont leave you!!

    I'm glad to hear you're going somewhere for yourself! I hope you have a blast!

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  20. You mean Baltimore, Maryland? Hmm.

    Hopefully you will have a good time at Magfest.

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  21. Your posts aren't showing up in my reader for some reason.

    Sounds like you have a fun trip coming up then. Cool!

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  22. Some women can be so fickle. This is why I like food so much---it never asks questions.

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  23. enjoy the trip. You've definitely earned it

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  24. Glad you have something to look forward to! You'll have a blast!

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  25. This is great, and you totally should do something nice for yourself. especially after working so much and working out - mini holiday!

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  26. nice dear.. enjoy the life..
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  27. Good for you! Sounds like the perfect getaway.

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  28. I never think about schemes like this. I always like to stay focused on the big picture instead of trying to nickle and dime a trip to Vegas. For anyone who's interested, focusing on this big picture just doesn't work! (I should have aimed lower.)

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  29. We may be lucky, but we have Miley Cyrus, Al Gore, and Oprah.

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