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Thread: Travel Hacking

  1. #21
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    cars in Europe

    I use sixt.com in Europe. Cheaper still than the ones mentioned here, fyi


  2. #22
    Senior Member
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    May 2010
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    We have also used Sixt. Not certain if they are still a sub of Lufthansa.

    We have found their prices to be very location dependent. Sometimes good, other times not so much. Guess it depends on how much inventory is available. Our best deals, especially in Italy, UK, Turkey, and Greece have been from autoeurope.ca. But you need to be able to drive a standard transmission. We always book the cheapest car and invariable get upgraded as long as we are not renting from an airport location.

  3. #23
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    Not hacking related but....

    I applied for a passport renewal, in person, on May 14. There was no wait at the passport office. Five minutes later I was on my way. The promised mailing date was May 29.

    The passport was issued on May 15. It arrived by registered mail this past Friday, May 22.

    Great service....as it should be for $160.

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  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Addy View Post
    We use a combination of AirBnB and Couchsurfing.
    I finally looked into AirBnB and wow, we are sold! Less than half the price of motels in most cases, cheaper even than youth hostels in some cities, and a wonderful variety of accommodations -- ranging from a room to an entire apartment or house. I signed up and we look forward to using it in the future. A studio apartment in Québec City for $54/night, a private apartment in Paris for $42 -- these are good deals. No more cheap motels for me!

  6. #25
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    Jul 2013
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    I used WestJet car rentals on a recent trip to England and the price was significantly lower than others I looked at.

    https://cars.westjet.com/#book

  7. #26
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    Apr 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by janus10 View Post
    So before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, this is "how to travel the world using travel rewards points from targeted credit card sign-up bonuses".
    I love traveling and have been to all 7 continents, 26 countries, and lived (spent more than 6 months in) 3 so far. But when it comes to my views on using credit cards and "travel hacking", I'm always outnumbered on this one but I'll say it anyways.


    Travel reward cards only outweigh other reward cards because of their initial incentives. After that, they tend to break even, at the risk to the user of them watering down their point value (as opposed to cash back where they can't).

    However justifying frequent credit card purchases with rewards is detrimental to your financial situation, not only because of the risk you put yourself at if you don't have an emergency fund (54% of Americans do not....I assume the stat is similar in Canada), but also because it pushes against what is known as transparency of payment.

    Transparency of payment is the scale on which we measure the feeling that we have given up something of value, in order to receive something of value. It's the sense of loss we feel when we purchase something, and the basis by which we use to really value that item (ie. I gave up $200 for those shoes and for me, that's like working a full day for a pair of shoes).

    Using a reward card makes a transaction highly opaque (as in, we don't feel like we're giving something up for it) in a number of ways.

    - Like all cards, we struggle to tie the action of swipe+enter pin to any real sense of loss. We "know" it's happening, but not as much as when we hand over a couple of crisp $20's.
    - Credit card specific, we get the option to pay it over time and some feel like it's "other people's money" (making it less real)
    - The "earning" of reward points makes us focus on what we get rather than what we give up.

    All said, this lack of transparency causes consumers who use credit cards as their dominant method of purchase to spend approximately 13% more than cash users on similar transactions. Of course this is a hard stat to carry over to airline tickets since I can't remember ever paying cash via the internet... but it definitely applies to our in-person transactions.

    That said.... If you're going to use a credit card, then travel reward cards may trump other cards and which one is best needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.

    However, once past the point where you can use the initial rewards for travel, they drop considerably in their rewards they give out as a percentage (typically between 2-4% equivalent value of your purchases) making travel hacking with them much less efficient then simply spending less on your purchases and saving the money for travel. Not to mention the wasted energy researching and trying to squeeze 4 quarters out of a dollar.

    For more information on transparency of payment, google "Money Monopoly Journal of Applied Science" and look for the research by P.Raghubir.
    Money was made to support life. Get the Good Life.

  8. #27
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    Unbelievable Priceline score tonight. I have an upcoming trip to Texas.

    Got myself a highly rated Marriott hotel through Priceline bidding (3 stars), ended up at around $50 per night (before taxes). Just ridiculous. This is about half the price of a regular booking through the usual hotel outlets (hotels.com, expedia, google). Non-refundable of course.

    I followed this quick & dirty approach: look up the price through Hotwire for an acceptable hotel in the region. Then do a Priceline bid about 20% under that price. If Priceline fails to give this price, then I take the Hotwire price.

  9. #28
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    I should add that the reason I know this price is insanely good is that I'm there on business travel and have my first hotel through a group/agent discount. The first hotel is $150/night. And the second hotel next door to it -- which I got through priceline -- is only rated slightly lower in quality & reviews, and it's $50/night. One third the price!

  10. #29
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    May 2016
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    Edmonton
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    J4B, i'm gonna have to steal this hack for sure. What a great strategy.

  11. #30
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    Pacific
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    I should clarify that I meant, first check Hotwire with its secret (final sale, name-not-disclosed) listings. Choose the region you're interested in. Let's say you see a 3 star hotel for $75/night.

    At that point, click through the Hotwire screens all the way to the check-out. You need to see what the final price is, let's say it comes to $92 for one night (hotwire total).

    Then go to Priceline and do a "bid" on a secret hotel. You have a good chance, but not a guarantee, of successfully bidding on a 3 star hotel in the same region for approximation 0.80 x $92 = $74 ish

    You will have to experiment with the nightly rate (in the priceline bid) to get the total to work out to that 74 number. It's important to compare these TOTALS become each booking site hides different things into the taxes & fees.

    Never bid on priceline for a total that exceeds the hotwire total. The reason is that priceline throws in hotels with gotchas, such as $16/day parking, whereas Hotwire is very good about spelling these out (e.g. they will assure you there is free parking). So Priceline bidding has to be done carefully.

    When in doubt, go with Hotwire -- you will never go wrong with this. But it is possible to squeeze out a little extra discount using Priceline bids, if done carefully.


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