Family Values

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Playing the miles game is a very different endeavor if you are a free agent, or a married without kids couple.

In that instance leveraging credit card bonuses and manufactured spending into dream vacations is quite a bit easier than stealing candy from a baby. (And for the record, I’ve never been convicted of any such crime.)

A single six card churn can easily secure two first-class tickets to almost anywhere in the world plus a weeks accommodations at a first-class resort.

But what if you are a family of four or five?

In that instance the math becomes a bit more tricky.

Even five economy class tickets to Europe or Asia would run you about 300,000 miles , a very respectable six card churn.


The Dividend Family: Not exactly dual income no kids

Which is why you’ve simply got to double down on a good thing.

That’s right, I’m talking about recruiting your spouse/significant other into the madness of the miles game.

There are two main reasons for this approach.

1. Double the participants means double the credit card sign up bonuses.

This is fairly intuitive. Getting enough miles for 2 1/2 tickets, is a hell of a lot easier than getting enough miles for five tickets.

2. And double the participants makes manufactured spending twice as easy.

Buying $2000 worth of Visa gift cards is not appreciably more difficult than by $1000 worth of Visa gift cards.

And heading to Walmart with 2 Bluebird cards in your pocket is much more efficient than heading to Walmart with just one.

In fact putting $10,000 of manufactured spend onto 2 Bluebirds is quite literally as easy as three trips to the drugstore/supermarket to buy gift cards and three trips to Walmart to load your bluebirds.

Day one: Buy $4000 worth of gift cards. Head to Walmart at 8:45 PM Pacific time. Load two cards (yours and your significant others) with one thousand dollars.

At 9:01 PM, load the two cards with a thousand dollars each again. (The date changes at 12 o’clock eastern time so the $1000 daily debit load limit resets at 9:00 PM Pacific time)

Day three: do the exact same thing again.

Day five: Buy $2000 worth of gift cards and load them at any time at Walmart that day. (you can’t double up here because there’s a $5000 per month limit on debit card loads per bluebird card per month.)

As would be expected, keeping track of two accounts is more difficult than keeping track of just one.

But here are some tricks that I use to keep it all straight.

1. I load both my and my wife’s accounts on award wallet. This is one easy place for me to check miles balances for both of us .

2. I stagger our applications about 1 to 2 months apart so that we can focus on meeting spending requirements for one set of cards before moving on to the next.

3. I deal with all of the reconsideration calls. If I’m calling regarding one of my wife’s accounts, I simply put her on the phone once I have an agent on the line and she gives permission for me to negotiate on her behalf. Then I go about our business without any issue.

4. I keep track of both of our Credit Sesame and credit Karma accounts to make sure both of our credit reports are in good standing.

Sure, it’s a little bit more work. But it’s work that pays well. After all, every vacation for our family of five, and every trip to visit in-laws in Kyoto, or San Francisco, becomes a free (or extremely cheap) trip.

And of course those savings are invested in early retirement.

That ain’t chump change.

And freedom is a commodity well worth investing in, in my humble estimation.

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