avocado toast

Have Your Avocado Toast and Eat it Too: Why Experiences Always Beat Material Belongings

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the latest viral article about how millennials can’t afford houses because we’re purchasing too much avocado toast, but the real question isn’t why we’re not buying houses, it’s why we’re choosing experiences over material belongings.

Blame the recession. Blame the Internet. Whatever you’re choosing to blame, the fact is that millennials have decided to stop pursuing material possessions in favor of experiences. It’s probably because with high student loans and the fact that we may never be able to retire, we may as well enjoy what free time we have via brunching and traveling as much as we can. And with the Internet and apps, we’ve made travel more accessible than ever.

avocado toast travel

Experiences > Belongings

We’re more focused on living a happy life. And with studies showing we’re happier with experiences rather than things, it’s no wonder that we’re trying to explore more now and buy the house later. Not to mention the fact that we’re only this age once. We’ll never be this young and able again. Sure, we’ll have all the time in the world once we retire, but will we have the same energy? Will we even be able? Life isn’t guaranteed. You may as well make the most of it while you can.

The best days for me weren’t when I was buying material possessions. They were brunching with friends, hanging out with my family, or traveling with my fiancé. They aren’t when I bought my car or work clothes. Sure, I was definitely excited for those things, but after a while the newness fades. Experiences will always be a wonderful memory.

avocado toast for run

Experiences like running the DC half marathon with my sister and fiancé are much better than buying things.

Have Your Avocado Toast and Eat it Too

So have that avocado toast and eat it too! Because us millennials hardly do anything without getting rewards these days. We are either getting cash back, double miles, or coupons to get a discount. So while some see $11 toast, I’m seeing 22 miles towards my next trip. The experience of eating delicious toast is now helping fund my free business class flight to Asia. I’ll take that over a house payment anytime. The memories of traveling to Southeast Asia with my fiancé on our honeymoon? That’ll last a lifetime.

Millennials have started becoming experts in travel and life hacking, and we’ve had to. With the recession and with our high student loans, keeping costs down is our main goal so that we can have more life experiences. So we’ve found ways to get free airline tickets, get money back on purchases, and even score free hotel nights out. Not too shabby right?

So thank goodness we have become experts because now we can not only have that delicious avocado toast to munch on during our 2 hour long boozy brunch, but we also can eat it too.

Where will your avocado toast miles get you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Be sure to share and subscribe!

avocado toast wisconsin

Reward yourself after that avocado toast with a trip.

short-term travel on miles

Short-Term Travel on Miles: Why Non-Frequent Flyers Should Collect Too

I know, it sounds crazy. I used to hear about all these travelers going all over the world only on miles and thought to myself, “What about those of us who aren’t constantly traveling? Is it even worth it for us?” So I decided to start investigating and learning about frequent flyer programs. And, as some of you know, I started my miles collecting journey about 3 months ago. I’m currently at 126,276 miles. Just to put this in perspective, because number of miles collected does not equal number of miles you can fly, this is about the equivalent of two round trip flights to Europe OR a round trip flight to Asia (and then some) if flying from the U.S. Pretty awesome results for just two months right? Time to start that short-term travel on miles!

But the biggest excuse that I hear from people who aren’t constantly traveling is that collecting miles is for those who travel all the time… and to that I say that is absolute bull crap. If anything, we’ve got less pressure to collect as many miles as possible, because we don’t necessarily need a million miles in a year for travel. We probably only need about 200,000 if we’re really getting our traveler’s grove on after that 9 to 5.

So what does this mean? We don’t have to open 12 credit cards a year to achieve travel hacking like several who are constantly traveling. I mean if you’re pumped about the wizardry that is collecting miles then go for it! Because, why not? But I gained those miles above from 2 credit cards. One I now LOVE and use everyday and the other, I got my miles, paid off my card, and haven’t touched since. Either way, my credit is about the same as it was before I even opened my first travel card. Slow and steady miles collecting over here.

short-term travel on miles berlin

Discover quirky new places around the world with all your miles!

Short-Term Travel on Miles: Bonus in Business Class!

So why haven’t I started booking those trips and started using those miles? Because I’ve got a strategy I’m brewing. And basically, if you’re collecting miles, strategy is absolutely key. I’m collecting enough miles to send my boyfriend and myself to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam next year in business class-using miles! Yup. Because I’m not always flying as a short-term traveler, I can collect enough miles within a year or so to fly myself somewhere and be fancy enough to fly business class. And so can YOU!

So forget about the thought that you have to be rich or famous to travel in business or first class. Forget that you can’t afford to travel. With a cool 120,000-160,000 miles, you can fly yourself business class to Asia. The cost out of pocket? $50 a person in taxes. Mind=blown. Luxury travel on a budget is too good of a deal to pass up.

short-term travel athens

You do not need to be a frequent flyer to enjoy the perks of frequent flyer miles.

Why You Should Start Collecting Even If You Aren’t Flying All the Time

Like I said above, you don’t have the pressure of needing to open 30 credit cards to collect miles! This allows you to build up your credit score and slowly open credit cards to collect those miles. You also get to save up miles for amazing, literally first class trips to exotic destinations you thought were too expensive to get to.

But another great aspect of short-term travel on miles? The knowledge that even if you only have the time off to take a two week trip to Asia or a one week trip to Italy, you can easily save up enough miles to go again later on. So you feel satisfied knowing you can get the most out of your trip while you’re there. And you won’t be wasting money on another plane ticket. Because who needs to pay thousands of dollars when you can earn thousands of miles just by opening credit cards and spending on everyday purchases? Or taking surveys online? Or online shopping? It’s really all too easy.

So stop listening and thinking that only frequent flyers should collect frequent flyer miles. Maybe it worked that way before travel credit cards became a thing, but today anyone can be a savvy traveler. You just need the right card. So start that short-term travel on miles today!

Where will you take your miles? Let me know in the comments! <3

short-term travel on miles italy

Stop wishing you had more money for traveling and start collecting miles now!

airline miles

5 Easy Steps to Earn 100k Airline Miles in 2 Months!

It sounds way too good to be true, right? I used to read about how collecting airline miles was the magic ticket to flying for free. I had my doubts. If I don’t travel all the time, how in the world could I collect these magical, unicorn miles? Then I started doing the research, and found out how easy it truly was. Here are my 5 steps to start racking those up (without flying)!

I. Do Your Research: Where Do You Want to Go?

Research is key. Are you an avid fan of Delta? Do you strictly fly Southwest? Or do you pretty much fly whatever airline is offering the best deal? I am usually the latter, but with collecting miles, sometimes having a destination in mind, and the airlines that fly there, will help immensely. For example, Delta doesn’t tend to charge hefty fuel surcharges with their airline alliances for Europe, whereas United does not for Asia. So if I was going to fly to Bangkok, I wouldn’t typically try to collect Delta miles for that.

So now is the time to make the tough decision: where the heck are you going to go? Will you lounge on a beach in Thailand? Or would you prefer to stroll along the streets of Paris? Wherever you go, it will be an adventure and you’ll be glad to get there with a super cheap airline ticket.

airline miles flying

Stop paying full price for plane tickets today!

II. Know Your Credit Score

I cannot emphasize this enough. As a CPA who frantically checks her finances on an almost daily basis, I used to think opening travel cards would wreak havoc on my credit score. It turns out it does not- just don’t keep lots of debt on those credit cards! A lot of banks these days have a credit score check for free, but I also recommend downloading Credit Karma or Credit Sesame on your phone to check your credit. It’s free and doesn’t affect your credit score.

Knowing your credit score is extremely important whether you want to open travel credit cards or not. So be sure to check your credit and see where you can improve. This will lead to better financing for future purchases like cars, homes, etc. Typically, to open these travel credit cards, you need a score of 700 or higher.

III. Find Travel Credit Cards with Airline Miles!

It makes sense that if you want to collect airline miles, the easiest way by far is through opening a credit card with airline miles associated with it, meeting the minimum spend, and raking in those miles. So it makes zero sense to open a Chase Freedom card, as it offers none of those benefits.

Almost all national banks in the US have rewards credit cards, so it can be overwhelming determining which card is best for you. For this round of credit cards, I ended up choosing Gold Delta Skymiles American Express and Chase Sapphire Preferred. I chose Gold Delta Skymiles Amex because I already had a few miles from flying for work through Delta, and they offered me 50,000 miles if I spent $1,000 in 3 months. Easy enough! So that was a huge deciding factor for me. Delta also offers your first bag checked free, priority boarding, and double miles on purchases through Delta. As my airport has a Delta terminal, I figured why not?

I chose Chase Sapphire Preferred because it has a wide variety of airline partners you can transfer miles to, from British Airways, to United, and even Korean Air. They also offer 2 miles per dollar for all travel and dining purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. So each time I use that Uber? 2 miles per dollar! Their offer was 50,000 miles if I spent $4,000 in 3 months.

A huge reason for these cards as well? They both waived their annual fee for the first year. As this was my first time opening travel rewards cards, I decided to ease into the water.

airline miles collect

Collect those miles and start flying on the cheap.

IV. Open 2-4 cards in one day: the App-O-Rama

After I settled on the cards I wanted to open, I applied for them on the same day. This is called an App-O-Rama. It typically will allow you to open several cards and have less chances of getting rejected. Again, as this was my first time, I only opened 2 cards. However, I wouldn’t recommend opening more than 4 in a day because then you need to think about the following step:

V. Meet that Minimum Spend! Don’t Bite off More than You can Chew

If you perform steps 1-4, they will all be meaningless unless you can meet the minimum spend. You won’t get those 50,000 miles for just opening the card- you have to actually use it. For the Delta card, this was easy. I sent my boyfriend a Paypal payment for $1,000, where I paid with my Delta Amex, and he sent me a Venmo payment for the money back. Super sneaky, but got 50,000 miles in less than a week. The only downside is the 3% charge Paypal uses, but $30 for 50,000 miles? Worth it. I now have enough miles for a free economy class flight to Europe. I’m not mad about it. From now on, though, I would only recommend this if you can’t meet the minimum spend and you’re in a pinch to meet it.

For Chase, this required more work. I had to spend $4,000. Luckily, I was planning my friend’s bachelorette party in Asheville, and decided to pay for the Airbnb, Biltmore tickets, etc., and have everyone Venmo me. This, along with adding my electric bill, phone bill, all groceries, everyday spending, etc. allowed me to meet the minimum spend in 2 months. Way before the deadline!

Basically, to meet the minimum spend, you can offer to pay for things and have your friends pay you back, put all of your utilities, automatic payments, etc. on the card, and spend like you usually do. Don’t treat this like free money and DO pay your balance in full every month. If you still can’t meet it, just shoot someone you trust a Paypal payment from the card and while the 3% fee sucks, at least you got the miles!

With these easy steps, you will be raking in airline miles in no time.

fly with airline miles

Where will you fly with those miles?

Travel Tips when Flying

The Biggest Travel Mistake You’re Making

No, it’s not your packing technique, where you choose to stay, or even your budget. You’re probably wasting money paying full price for airline tickets, AND…not even collecting miles! Ask anyone taking a vacation that is not drivable distance, and the biggest cost by far is the plane ticket. Want to know a secret? It doesn’t have to be! Airline miles are easier to collect than ever! If you’re not collecting these, you need to start now. Let me break it down.

Every time you take a flight, no matter what airline, join their miles program.

This past summer, I flew from Cleveland to Seattle round-trip. With layovers, that was 4,345 miles. You better believe I collected those! Because Rule #1: Miles programs are completely free to join! How can you not join? Every time you take a flight, no matter what airline, join their miles program. I’m a part of AA Advantage, Delta Skymiles, Air France Flying Blue, British Airways Avios, and South African Voyager. Another reason to join the miles programs?

credit cards and airline miles

Credit card offers!

Yes, I got an offer for the Delta Skymiles card, in which they offered me 50,000 miles if I spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. 50,000 miles for only spending $1,000! To put that in context, most miles cards offer 50,000 miles after spending $4,000 in 3 months. To further put that in context, to fly from Cleveland to Bangkok, Thailand, and then Hanoi, Vietnam back to Cleveland is 80,000 miles. So earing 50,000 is a big freaking deal.

That’s not all! Other credit cards, like Chase Sapphire Preferred, aren’t tied to a particular airline, but you can transfer those miles to whichever airline that is participating. Not to mention they offer 2 miles per dollar spent on travel and dining expenses. So you are literally earning miles using Uber or even while eating your favorite sandwich.

What’s my favorite part?

If you join a miles program through an airline, say Delta Skymiles, they have dining program, in which you earn 3 miles per dollar spent at participating locations. I looked to see which restaurants were available in my area, and my boyfriend and I’s favorite spot for perogies and beer was on the list! So the usual $30 we spend on a beer and perogies? I put down my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, with 2 miles per dollar spent, and as it’s a participating Delta Skymiles restaurant, I also earn 3 miles per dollar spent. That means I got 5 miles per dollar I spent! 150 miles earned just by stuffing my face and drinking my favorite brew. It literally doesn’t get any easier.

dubrovnik with airline miles

Imagine flying to Dubrovnik for a dream vacation with nothing but miles.

Want to know another awesome perk of joining a miles program? They have portals where you can online shop and earn double, sometimes triple miles! So the holidays don’t have to be a drain on your finances, because they’ll be earning you miles for your next destination!

Here’s just a taste of the biggest travel hack you will ever learn. I’ll have more advice to come, but in the meantime, I have to give a shout out to Trav from Extra Pack of Peanuts and the Points Guy! These guys are the gurus of airline miles and collecting them. Collecting miles is the extreme couponing of travel, and you need to start now!