$90 purchase that can earn points worth $100 to $2000

Remember the guy who earned over a million miles by buying 12,000 pudding cups?

This hack might not get you 1.2 million miles, but it will get you nearly 10,000, and it’s a LOT easier.

And before you turn your nose up at 10,000 points that most people only know how to redeem for a $100 gift card at Applebee’s…

Properly redeemed – 10,000 Membership Reward (AMEX) points can actually be worth $500 to $2000 in luxury travel!

As you know – Labor Day is a big weekend for sales.

I’m not normally a big shopper, but I AM big on spending the money I’d be spending anyway – where I can get 50% to 2000% of that money back in the form of points.

Today, a company called NordVPN is having a sale, and has partnered with a company called Rakuten.  This partnership is an absolute dream for anyone who knows the *true* value of a frequent flyer point.

Here’s why this is worth considering:

1) Anyone who travels uses countless free wifi signals, and hackers use wifi signals to steal the identities of unknowing victims. Norton VPN protects you against those hackers.

2) This sale will allow you to have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for up to 6 devices for 2 years – which can be a godsend when traveling. Instead of the normal $322, they’re currently offering this service for $89.

3) If you join Rakuten, they’ll reimburse your first $30 in purchases (or give you 3000 Membership Rewards points).

4) If you purchase Norton’s service through Rakuten’s link – you’ll either get $67 back, or 6700 points.

Hint: Combined, that’s 9700 points – which is worth a minimum of $97 in travel, BUT…

Wisely used – 9700 points can be worth as much as $2000 in free travel, so I recommend taking the points.)

5) Although this isn’t a 100,000 point signup bonus, but this hack doesn’t require the hassle getting a new credit card. Get good at identifying points deals worth 10 or 20 times what you’re buying, and you’ll be able to travel like royalty. No juggling of credit cards required.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click this link to sign up for Rakuten. (Note that it’s a referral link, so we’ll be given 3000 points for referring you, and you’ll be given $30 or 3000 points (hint: take the points).
  2. When setting up your account, go to “my wallet” and change your setting from “cash back” to “points” and enter your Membership Rewards number. (Note that you must have an AMEX card that contributes to Membership Rewards. If you don’t have that this won’t work, but you can click here to get one for next time)
  3. Once logged into Rakuten – search for Norton VPN and verify that they’re still offering 75% cash-back (which can also be converted to points)
  4. Click the link Rakuten provides and choose their 2-year package.
  5. Wait for the points to be added to your account, and start looking for transfer partners

In summary:

Don’t worry about how to turn 9700 points into $2000 right now. If you have an AMEX card – JUST GO AND GET THE POINTS!

We’ve got plenty of free tips on how to turn points normally worth a mear 1¢ each – into 5, 10, even 20¢ each in our free Facebook group. There is plenty of time to figure that out. For now – just go and get those points!

Happy travels.

-Joel

The “Hail Mary” method of travel

In football – a “Hail Mary” is a desperation-play at the end of a game.  Although it’s great on the rare occasion it works, it’s rarely successful.

Unfortunately, most people rely on “Hail Mary” methods with their travels. They wait until a month or two before a trip, they search unsuccessfully for days and reach out to someone in the business in an act of desperation hoping to get help… And just like the Hail Mary – it rarely works.

Those people either end up not taking the trip, or cutting back on their lodging expenses and vacation activities to offset the expensive flights.

Want to save 50% to 98% every single time you take a trip?

Do these three simple things:

  1. Forget the concept of “planning ahead”

    • Just start looking for good deals every day and plan around opportunities when they present themselves. (It can sometimes be 1 month in advance, and sometimes 10 months. The key is to realize that it’s impossible to know when those deals will pop up or how long in advance they will be. The only solution? Look for them every day – whether planning a trip or not.)
  2. Plan on being flexible.

    • Sometimes, that might mean leaving a day earlier or going to Belize instead of Costa Rica, other times, it means going over Thanksgiving instead of winter break – but the more flexible you’re willing to be – the less you can spend on flights, the more you can spend on nicer accommodations, more comfortable flights, more activities, or taking more trips.
    • Here is an example of one of our subscribers who has taken 25 ridiculously affordable trips she couldn’t have taken if it weren’t for being slightly flexible.
  3. Accept the fact that Rules #1 & 2 won’t always work and establish a backup plan long in advance.

    • It takes 2 or 3 months to put your backup plan in place, and the most expensive problem you can have is trying to find cheap flights within the next month, so you may as well get prepared now.
    • Here is a free quick-start guide. Implement this ASAP and you’ll have a bullet-proof system for finding the absolute best price possible – no matter what your travel circumstances are.

Don’t want to do those 3 things?

That’s fine, but those are the rules of The JGOOT Way and unless you’re married to a pilot or flight attendant – they are the ONLY way you can save 50% to 98% every time you travel. If you don’t want to follow them, you may as well unsubscribe from my service and go back to the major travel site you’re most comfortable with.

Of course, if you’d like to learn a consistent and reliable SYSTEM allowing you to travel for 50% to 98% less – every single time you travel, without fail – click here.

With the JGOOT system of travel, you’ll be traveling more, spending (way) less, wasting less time trying to hunt down travel deals that don’t exist, and when YOUR friends start telling you “I wish I could travel like you” – you can teach them the 3 rules you’ve learned to live by, and they can start traveling with you.

Happy Travels!

Joel

Squish Like Grape

Remember this scene from Karate kid?

 

Walk right side road – Safe.

Walk left side road – Safe.

Walk middle of road – sooner or later… Squish like grape.

Want to find a pretty good deal every once in a while? Stick to the right side of the road & go to kayak.com. Sometimes you’ll get lucky on the price you’ll pay and sometimes you won’t, but you will find a flight to anywhere you want to go, any time you want to go there.

Want to find an exceptional deal every single time you travel? Cross all the way over to the left side of the road.

My family and I travel exclusively on the left side of the road and we average about 8¢ on the dollar for every trip we take. Thousands of JGOOT subscribers do the same, and you can too… But you have to stick to the left side of the road (read: You have to learn “The JGOOT Way” of travel.)

There are 3 simple rules to The JGOOT Way and they’re very simple.

  1. Look every day – whether you’re planning a trip or not, and schedule trips around good exceptional deals when you find them. (Our trip-alert service allows you to do this over your morning coffee.)
  2. Plan on being flexible on when/where you want to go to maximize savings.
  3. You MUST have a backup plan for the times when you can’t apply rules #1 & 2 (Because there will always be trips where you 1) don’t have time to plan ahead, and 2) don’t have flexibility on when/where you want to go.

Don’t want to follow all 3 of those rules?

Sooner or later… Squish like grape.

 

Want to travel for an average of 10¢ or 20¢ on the dollar yourself? Click here.

Can you solve a Rubik’s Cube?

So I’ll admit I can’t solve a Rubik’s Cube at all. My husband claims he’s been trying to solve the same one since high school and that was 30 years ago! If I concentrate really, really hard I can, on occasion, solve one side. But that’s it. My personal best. One side. 

My son, John Paul on the other hand, is a speedcuber. He’s 12. He learned to solve a Rubik’s Cube from my dad while we were on a family vacation in Zion National Park. John Paul was 7. Yep 7 years old. And he learned how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Check out this YouTube video of John Paul solving a cube in less than 30 seconds when he was 8. 

Since then my son has developed a passion for cubing. (That’s the official term.) He’s now fast enough and competent enough to compete in National competitions for speedcubers. While some of those are in Colorado where we live, many are in really cool and unique places across the United States (and the world). 

A few months ago I came into my son’s room at night to see what he was doing. He had two windows open on his computer. One was a list of all of the cubing competitions in the United States and the other was a list of all the most recent Just Get Out Of Town (abbreviated JGOOT) fares. My son knew that if he could find a competition that aligned with a JGOOT airfare or airfare + hotel deal he would better be able to sell us on it. 

He could have just picked a competition in a city and typed the city and dates into a search engine and paid rack rates for whatever airfare and hotels might be available. That would be expensive and probably out of our budget. That’s the way we used to plan our travel. 

Instead my son was going to find a great deal and plan his vacation and his competition around it. And guess what? It worked! Here’s my son John Paul and my husband on their way to a speedcubing competition: 

So whether or not you can solve a Rubik’s Cube (and there’s no hope for me) if you can learn to travel the JGOOT way you can travel more for less than you ever thought possible. 

Writer, traveler, family CEO,  and speedcubing failure extraordinaire, Brooke Merkle currently wears the hat of Director of Customer support for Just Get Out Of Town. You can follow her blog at justgetoutoftown.com/blog or e-mail her about how you too can travel more for less. Plus, if you’re lucky, her son will show you how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. 

 

The most important ingredient when making Pho

Hien – one of my best friends of over 40 years is an amazing cook. He taught me to make authentic Vietnamese Pho (Which is pronounced like the first part of a certain 4-letter f-word, without the “ck”).

Anyway… thanks to $39 round-trip flights, I was recently able to escape the Colorado cold, and visit he and his brother’s family outside of L.A. While there, we fixed a big pot of Pho and had a big gathering of with their whole family.

Instead of his normal process of taking 4 to 6 hours to cook the broth over medium heat, we decided we’d try to get more flavor by lowering the heat & cooking it overnight.

Best. Phocking. Soup. Ever!

It turns out the most important ingredient when making a good pot of pho is time.  Low & slow baby. Low and slow.

 The recipe is actually pretty simple: 

  • 4 to 5 lbs beef bones
  • 2 tbsp ground cardamom
  • Handful of star anise
  • 12-15 sticks of cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • 1-2 onions – grilled & carmelized
  • 1 piece of ginger – sliced & charred
  • Put all of the above in about 2-3 gallons of water and simmer on medium-low for a minimum of 4 hours. (Although low for 12-24 hours will get a better result)
  • After several hours, adjust ingredients to taste, and continue to simmer.
  • When done, strain broth through cheesecloth. Add rice noodles and protein of your choice.
  • Garnishes include Vietnamese basil, bean sprouts, limes, siracha sauce, or hoisin sauce to taste.

Want to pay the best price ever for your next vacation?

Hunt for your vacation the same way; Low & Slow.

  • Rather than DRASTICALLY limiting your options by trying to squeeze a vacation to a specific place at a specific time into a pre-determined amount of time, start looking for a trip sometime 6 to 9 months from now. By planning long ahead, you can figure vacation time out AFTER you find the right deal. (Don’t worry – It doesn’t usually require that much adjusting.)
  • Pick a minimum of 10 destinations you’d want to go to and set up a fare-watch on Airfarewatchdog.com for each of those destinations.
  • Check out prices every morning, but don’t plan on booking anything for at least a couple weeks.
  • You’ll see a couple good deals that are tempting, but trust me – you’re not just looking for “good deals…” You’re looking for “Are you phoking kidding me?” AMAZING deals that you think are a mistake.  When you find one that looks good, there’s no need to wonder if you should wait for it to go down any lower… You snatch that fare up before someone else does, and you do everything in your power not rub it in the face of every other sucker on the plane who paid 3 to 10 times as much as you.

By having the patience to plan well ahead, and the discipline to look daily for the deals that are out there for the taking, you’ll be shocked at how much less you’ll have to pay for a vacation (or weekend trip) to a place you never even thought you could justify going to.

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Have a friend you know would like to travel more and spend less?

Word of mouth is our best form of advertising. Please share this post with them.

They can try JGOOT free for 30 days and they can look over  daily “Are you phocking kidding me?” travel deals in less time than it takes to sip their morning coffee.
JustGetOutOfTown.com
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PS – My wife used to be a 2nd grade teacher and hates that I use the F word. But hell – when you’re REALLY trying to get a point across, “effing” just doesn’t cut it.  Besides, when it comes to travel… Do you want an “effing good deal” or an “un-phocking-believably good deal?”

Take our 30-day challenge & get $300 toward your travels

Have you taken our 30-day challenge?  It takes as little as 30 seconds a day, and when you complete it – you’ll receive this savings card (which happens to be worth more than double the cost of your JGOOT subscription.)

As you (hopefully) know – there are only two simple rules to “The JGOOT Way” of travel, and rule number one is to check for deals every day.

To demonstrate how powerful simply checking for travel deals daily can be, we’re having a 30-day challenge.

The rules are simple.

  1. If you’re already a JGOOT subscriber, simply forward any daily trip-alert to “Challenge@JustGetOutOfTown.com” saying “I’m in”.  (If you’re not a subscriber yet, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial here and you’ll receive instructions with your welcome email.)
  2. After telling us you’re in for the challenge, simply email us once you’ve opened 30 days in a row & we’ll send your savings card to you!

No purchase required. You don’t even have to click on any of the trips. Simply open your email once a day & tell us after you’ve done so for 30 days.

Simple right?

PS – Even if you don’t plan on flying for the next year, you can apply this $300 savings card toward any local activity, car rental, or luxury staycation that you can find on major sites like Travelocity or Expedia. (And considering you can take the challenge every year – you actually MAKE money every year you remain a JGOOT subscriber.)

 

Where Dreams Die Or Pocketbooks Cry

“Got any deals to _______ leaving on ______ and returning on______?”

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re asking that question right now – and it’s too late.

For every call/text I get from friends (both new and old)…

we get 10 posts in our Facebook group…

and for every 10 posts in our Facebook group, we get 100 private requests via email.

And it’s too late to help a single one of them.

Expecting the airlines to have an exceptional deal at the exact time you decide to book a trip is like a surfer expecting the tides to change so he can sleep in.

If you’re looking for a trip to a specific place at a specific time with any less than 60 days notice, you really only have two options:

  1. Pay a lot more than you wanted to pay for that trip (or you wouldn’t be asking.)
  2. Don’t go at all.

Even if you find a “good” deal after countless hours of hunting – it is guaranteed to be two or three times as expensive as the exceptional deal an ounce of prevention could have gotten you.

While you’re licking your wounds (or convincing yourself that the redeye flight you settled on is a good deal) – use that as your inspiration to put a simple plan in place so you NEVER have to settle for anything less than an exceptional travel deal again.

  1. Forget about a travel agenda and look for exceptional deals every day (whether planning a trip or not). Don’t waste your time with “good deals”. But when you get inspired by an exceptional deal that is 1/10th of what you’d normally expect to pay – find dates that work for you and go there. (Even if your bucket-list includes a strict list of Bali, Hawaii, Iceland, and the 7 wonders of the world – simply being open to doing them in a different order will save you thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars. And let’s face it – most of us would settle for anywhere with bottomless umbrella drinks, white-sand beaches, and an infinity pool for our Instagram photos. )
  2. Build a stash of points for the times when you need to go somewhere and don’t have the luxury of going where the deals are. Instead of begrudgingly booking a redeye flight to get the flight you were hoping to pay $200 for – for under $600 – you can use points and pay less than fifty bucks.)

Don’t wait until you get back from your trip either. Start on both #1 and #2 today. Otherwise, you’ll be facing the exact same problem with the next trip after that.

Don’t have points? Watch the video below.  I promise – It’s way less of a hassle than what you put yourself through every time you need to go somewhere specific at a specific time, and can’t find a good deal.

 

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Don’t have the time to search 30 minutes a day for the best travel deals?  Subscribe to our trip-alert service and do it in 30 seconds a day.
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Webinar recording: How to turn Chase Sapphire Preferred’s Signup bonus into $1000 to $15,000 in travel benefits

Ever feel like the airlines have a gun to your head when you NEED to fly somewhere?

Here’s a guaranteed method to turn the tables on them.

Don’t want to watch the whole 60 minutes?

Click here to read a summary in another blog post.

Click on any link below for highlights of the video above:

1:10 – If I’m not selling anything – WHY would I do this webinar?

2:45 – How to prevent EVER having to pay high prices again.

4:10 – The only two types of travel you need to know about

7:32 – 6 common objections to trying point-hacking

9:25 – Objection 1: “The hassle of getting a new credit card vs. the hassle of finding a cheap flight”

17:07 – Objection 2: “I already have a travel card” (and where the hidden magic of travel cards REALLY is)

19:00 Objection 3: “I don’t want to ruin my credit” (The 3 main things that go into a credit score)

23:53 – Objection 4′: “I prefer getting cash back” (and the opportunity cost of cash vs travel benefits)

30:11 – Objection 5: (I don’t want Juggle a bunch of credit cards” (And how not to have to do that)

34:00 – Objection 6: “I don’t have good credit” (and how to fix it to get thousands of dollars in travel benefits.)

36:55 – 5 ways to fix your credit

41:44 – How to solve the the “I wish I could travel more” problem

43:20 – Free resources

45:25 – Questions from viewers

Resources discussed in this webinar:

Chase Sapphire: 80,000 point signup bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred has some of the most valuable and most diverse points in the industry – and they’re currently offering an 80,000 point signup bonus.

If you haven’t explored the world of point-hacking, this is a great way to start. For simply signing up, paying the $95 annual fee, and spending $4000 with this card, you can get enough points to:

  • Book two round-trip flights anywhere in Mexico, the Caribbean, or Europe ($1000 to $3000 value)
  • Book one round-trip to Europe in Business class ($4000 to $10,000 value)
  • Book as many as 8 domestic flights on Southwest ($1600 to $2400 value)
  • Get 3 to 5 free nights at a luxury resort anywhere around the world (including all-inclusives.)
  • If you REALLY learn how to hunt-down point-bargains – you can book a one-way flight in a first-class private suite. ($10,000 to $15,000 value)

But most importantly – having a stash of points is like having monopoly money you can use any time you don’t like the cost of a flight you’re looking at.

If you’re not familiar with point-hacking, try this quick-start guide (but don’t use the referral link in it. That only gets you 60,000 points.)

Seriously – this is a great value.

  • Already have a travel card? Spending $4000 on it will get you 4000 points. Get this card, spend $4000, and go back to your old one after collecting your 84,000 points.
  • Already have a Chase Sapphire card? Have your significant other get one.
  • Loyal to Delta? You can do more with 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points than 200,000 Delta points (and “Delta One” doesn’t hold a candle to a private suite on Singapore Air or Emirates.)
  • Prefer cash-back? 80,000 points is worth $800 in cash or statement credits ($400 if they’re Capital One points). 80,000 points with this card can be redeemed for $1200 to $15,000 in travel benefits.

Have questions? Here is a recording of a Facebook Live discussion I did in JGOOT Village.

Happy Travels,
Joel “We flew home from Singapore in a $7000 lie-flat business seat for less points than Chase is giving away just for trying their card.” McDonald

PS – Don’t want to mess with frequent flyer points? Most of the trips we share at Just Get Out Of Town – are actually better  deals than redeeming frequent flyer points. You can see for yourself at JustGetOutOfTown.com

7 quick-and-easy trip customizations

Have you ever decided to research a trip and been disappointed at the price? So you play with different options to see if you can get the price down, right? Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you don’t.

Well researching a JGOOT trip-alert is the same thing, except instead of trying to whittle the price down – you play with options to find something that works better for you.

7 quick and easy trip customization options:

Whenever we send you a trip-alert, your flight options look something like the screenshot above.

Below are 7 quick and easy changes you can make to see if you can find a trip that works for you at-or-near the prices we found:

  1. Round-trip vs one-way. Every trip we share is based on a round-trip price, but you can easily change that to a one-way flight for roughly half the price (sometimes even less than half the price!)
  2. Change the number of passengers: (This is especially important if traveling with 3 to 6 of you.)
  3. Flight plus hotel packages: Once you find dates that work for you at a price you want to pay – it’s always a good idea to click on “packages” to see what kind of a deal you can get on the hotel. (Hint – these discounts can be massive. On rare occasion it can even mean getting the hotel for free.)
  4. Change your travel dates: Although it’s never guaranteed how many alternate dates will be available at the same price, you can almost always adjust the dates and find something that can work for you. (sometimes months earlier or later, so it never hurts to check.)
  5. Don’t want to deal with too many layovers? Check this box to find the cheapest nonstop options.
  6. Sort by “quickest” “Best” and “Shortest” – For just a few dollars more, you can sometimes find far more convenient options. These options help you find those options very quickly.
  7. Don’t like a certain airline? You can exclude certain airlines, or scroll down the list until you see one you like. Sometimes, a much better option is only negligibly more expensive. (Don’t like Spirit? Note that in the example above – spending $25 more not only gets you a different airline, but it also gets you a direct flight.)

PS – Don’t forget one other very important thing when looking up flights on Kayak: Make sure to wait for the page to fully load, so you get to see all pricing options available!

“Travel leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

My wife and I have amazing friends.

Smart friends.

Caring friends.

The one downside to that is that whenever we get together in a group – I’m often forced to be a fly on a wall as they have these in-depth talks about anything from faith & religion, to economics, to sports (I’m a fair-weather sports fan at best.)

But last weekend, we had a gathering with 4 other couples and as the girls were socially distanced in the back yard, the guys were gathered around the kitchen.

I was the normal bystander, listening passively to as my super-smart friends talked about the Broncos. Suddenly, a commercial about travel brought up our last trip to Asia.

For about a half-hour I was the center of attention among a group of guys who are infinitely smarter than little-ol-me. All because they wanted to know all about our first-class flights, our visit to the Great Wall, how the “reflection pool” in Bali isn’t actually a pool at all, glamping in the jungle (oh… my… GOSH!!!), how you get your choice of Dom Perignon or Tattinger in first-class, and of course – how we were able to take the whole trip for under $3000.

Want to travel more without spending more?

Want to create stories you can tell your future grandkids about?

Stop looking for deals two or three times a year when you get a hankering to go somewhere.  Flights at 50% to 90% below normal market rates are out there every day, but those prices will not wait around for the two or three times a year when you decide you need to plan a trip.

Search every day for bargain flights – whether you’re planning a trip or not.  There are plenty of sites you can search for free. When you see a deal that intrigues you – book it, plan your calendar around that trip – and you’ll stretch your travel budget two to five times farther.

But you can’t tell yourself you’ll start looking tomorrow. You’re on your computer reading this now, so…

  • Go visit Google Flights right now.
  • Pick a date that works for you, leave the destination blank, and see if any trips inspire you.
  • If you don’t see anything today – look again tomorrow (because most of today’s good deals will be gone tomorrow, but rest-assured – more amazing deals will replace them.)

It really is that simple.

Don’t have the time to search for trips every day?

Click here. For about a quarter a day, you can start your search for your next story now.

 

Jennifer books $87 round-trip flights to St. Croix!! (Video)

Jennifer kindly added this comment to one of our Facebook ads, and I asked her if I could interview her about her experience.

In this 14 minute video, we talk about

  • Her $87 round-trip flight for her and her husband ($174 total)
  • JGOOT compared to other services she’s used
  • Checking travel restrictions before booking
  • Finding dates that worked for her & her husband
  • Other travel deals they have been tempted by
  • How they added a week in an AirBnb for $500 for a total vacation cost of $678.
  • etc.

Don’t want to watch the full 14 minutes? Watch it directly on Youtube & click links in the comments to skip to the part you’re interested in the most.

What’s the best post-COVID deal YOU’VE booked?

Tell us about it in the comments below.

Positioning flights (Advanced travel-hacking strategy)

A positioning flight is a flight someone takes out of a different airport than their own when they can fly for cheaper from that airport. It’s a bit of an advanced strategy experienced travelers use to get cheaper international flights.

The advantage: Someone living in L.A. might only be able to find flights to Paris for $1000 out of their area, but they might find flights out of D.C. for $300. If they’re a family of four, it could be VERY worth their while if they can get themselves to D.C. for under a couple hundred dollars.

The disadvantage: It requires two separate bookings – so if flights are delayed on either end – and you miss a connecting flight – you’re on your own.  Because of this, it’s usually a good idea to add in plenty of time (if not an overnight stay) to make sure you don’t miss your connecting flights.

The JGOOT difference: At JGOOT – dealing with the hassle of positioning flights is a lot less necessary because – when you travel “The JGOOT Way” – the difference between flying to Europe from the West Coast and the East Coast is negligible. (The same goes for Asia, Africa, or anywhere else.)

For example – For the most part – we publish fares from the East Coast to Europe that are an average of about $350.  We share fares from the West Coast to Europe that are an average of about $400.  As you can see – the difference between East & West Coast flights to Europe is less than $100 (which is hardly worth the expense of getting yourself to the opposite side of the country to take advantage of a cheaper fare).

Photo Courtesy of Robert Cross Fishing Tournament

One exception (Mexico): There is one exception to this – where positioning flights could be very worth your while and that is if you like Mexico. If you don’t mind jumping through a couple extra hoops to save $150 to $200 per passenger on your flight anywhere in Mexico, here’s an option to consider:

  • Since flying across an international border costs an extra $100 to $200, and walking across the border costs about ten, Tijuana airport (which has a bridge connecting directly to San Diego) represents a very unique opportunity.
  • A round-trip flight to Cabo that might cost anywhere from $200 to $500 from San Diego – might only be $59 from 20 miles away in Tijuana.
  • Warning: All of the other rules when dealing with positioning flights apply – if not more so because you have to actually change airports.

The easy solution is to keep an eye on your trip-alerts for cheap flights to San Diego from your home airport. When you see one that might work, hop on Kayak or Google flights and see what flights to anywhere in Mexico cost from Tijuana. If you find something, plan for some extra time in San Diego and when the time is right, take the $20 uber ride to the (US based) parking lot and walk across the border to the TJ airport.

The more advanced solution: If you’re a die-hard Mexico traveler, AND  you like the idea of gaming the system a little, AND you have plenty of “backup plan” points (rule #3 of the JGOOT Way of travel), AND you can easily get yourself to San Diego to take advantage of a cheap fare to Mexico, AND don’t mind hopping on an Uber to get yourself from San Diego airport – to the TJ airport bridge on the other side of San Diego) – Watching fares out of our San Diego territory is a great option.

If you are a JGOOT subscriber, simply reply to any email and tell us if you’d like us to send you fares from up two additional territories.

If you are not a JGOOT subscriber, you can click here to try our service out free for 30 days.

The territories we currently cover include:

  • AZ – Phoenix
  • CA – San Diego (including SNA options)
  • CA – L.A. (Including flights out of LAX, SNA, BUR & ONT flights)
    CA – San Francisco (Including SFO, SJC, and OAK flights)
  • CO – Denver (Including DEN & occasionally COS flights)
  • FL – Miami (Including MIA & FLL flights)
  • FL – Tampa
  • GA – Atlanta
  • IL – Chicago (Including ORD & MDW flights)
  • IN – Indianapolis
  • LA – New Orleans
  • MA – Boston
  • MI – Detroit (Including DTW & FNT flights)
  • MN – Minnesota
  • MO – Kansas City
  • MO – St. Louis
  • NV – Las Vegas
  • NY/NJ – New York (Including LGA, EWR & JFK flights)
  • NC – Charlotte
  • NC – Raleigh/Durham
  • OH – Cleveland
  • OR – Portland
  • PA – Pennsylvania
  • TN – Tennessee
  • TX – Dallas
  • TX – Houston (Including IAH & HOU airports)
  • UT – Salt Lake City
  • WA – Seattle
  • Washington D.C.

PS – there is another reason for considering positioning flights – and that’s when you can get business or first-class flights for less than the price of a coach fare (sometimes, when using rule 3 of The JGOOT Way of travel, a LOT less) – but that’s another post for another time.

Flying to Beijing in lie-flat United Polaris seats for less than $300 by departing from Washington D.C. instead of Denver.

Happy travels!

Joel

Please feel free to share any great positioning flight stories you’ve got in the comments below. Maybe we can even do an interview!

 

Canceled flight: Should I take a $500 airline credit or 100,000 miles?

A subscriber was going to cancel his flight and was offered a credit of $500 with that airline – or 100,000 miles, so he emailed to ask me what I would do.

Since this is a common dilemma due to the current circumstances of many canceled flights, I thought I’d share my response as a blog post.

Hi Greg,
Thanks for reaching out.  Every airline varies, but in the case of Frontier – my short answer is “If it were me, and if it were an airline I fly often – I’d take 100,000 points over a $500 voucher every time”

But that’s me. You have to decide what’s right for you, so here’s the long answer:

  • A $500 credit is worth $500 next time you fly with that airline. No more, & no less.
  • If you get points… That’s a different story.
    • 100,000 Frontier points are worth about $500 as a worst-case scenario.
    • 100,000 Frontier points can be worth as much as $1500.
    • Side note – it’s rare, and it takes some digging, but 100,000 points with some airlines can be worth exponentially more than $500 or $1000. (I once redeemed 106,000 points for two $12,000 flights in a suite on Singapore Air.)

So if you like the idea of gaming the system to get more than a dollar for dollar refund out of a canceled flight, you can stretch points much farther than a cash credit.

If you’re not comfortable with learning how to maximize the value of frequent flyer points, I’d recommend seeing if you can get a cash refund first. Only after you’ve verified you can’t get a refund would I recommend taking a travel credit.

I hope that helps.
Happy Travels

–Joel

Can I get a refund if I change my flight?

I surveyed my subscribers this morning about their hopes/plans for future travels (more on that later), but one subscriber had a very good question along with her answer:

Great question Sharon!

There are a few variables involved with your question.

Your two best bets for being guaranteed a refund is to cross your fingers and hope the airline changes your schedule or cancels the flight altogether.

If the airline makes the change:

Cancelations:
If they cancel your flight, most airlines will offer a credit toward future flights. However, you are not required to accept that. They might not make it immediately obvious, but if you don’t want to spend hours on hold, you can usually find a place on the airline’s website to request a refund for canceled flights And this holds true – even for “non-refundable” flights.

Significant changes:
If the airline makes a significant change to your flight schedule, you are also entitled to a refund in full. (Airlines vary on what they consider a “significant change”, and that amount of time varies between 30 minutes and 6 hours.  If you find out that your airline’s schedule has been changed, it’s always a good idea to look at their change/refund policy and insist on a refund if the change was significant enough. That way, you can take your money elsewhere if a different airline has a better deal.

When you make the change.

The good news:
In reaction to Coronavirus issues, nearly all airlines have started offering extremely liberal change policies. If you decide not to take the trip you booked,  you will most likely be able to change your flight with no fees or penalties whatsoever.

The bad news:
Although most airlines aren’t charging fees if you want to make a change to your schedule, you will have to pay any difference, if fares are higher for your replacement flight. But don’t worry – when you search for flights using “The Triangle of Travel” – that shouldn’t be a problem. (Two of the “corners” of the triangle of travel are to 1) go where the deals are, 2) and be flexible.) Here is another post covering my concept of “The Triangle Of Travel” in more detail.

When you make the change (vs the airline making the change) – Most airlines are only offering credits toward future travels vs giving cash refunds, so if in doubt about whether travel restrictions will be lifted, it’s best to book it as far in the future as possible.

Tips

Given the uncertainty about when/where we’ll be able to travel, be sure to check each airlines’ change policies in advance before booking any flights.

If at all possible, we recommend booking directly with the airline. That way, if you have to change or cancel, you don’t have to deal with a third party to get your refund.

Your options are a lot better if the airline changes your flight than if you change it. So if you’re thinking about changing or canceling a flight, be sure to look up your airlines’ individual change/cancel policies, and wait until as late as possible to make that change. It’s a bit like a game of “chicken”, but it’s well worth waiting to see if the airline changes or cancels your flight.