It looked like my dream of going to Costa Rica wasn’t going to happen. I was broke. But my best friend booked his trip and would not stop talking about how fun it would be.
Fomo is real… So I had to make this trip happen.
After days of googling travel deals I stumbled upon flyertalk, an online community of travelers scheming to earn airline miles, hotel and bank points, then find the most lucrative ways to redeem those points for free travel.
I spent the next few days reading all I could. I then started putting it to use.
The basics: What are credit card points?
Credit card reward points and miles are a type of currency. Every purchase I make, I earn points or miles. I later use them to redeem airline tickets or hotel stays around the world. A credit card can offer any of the 4 types of rewards:
|Airline specific miles||For example, If you have United miles, you can use those miles for flights with United and its various partners.|
|Airline/ Hotel specific points||Likewise, If you have Marriott points, you can use those earnings for free nights at the many brands under the Marriott umbrella.|
|Bank program points/miles||Using credit card points directly for travel: This varies by credit card issuer, but most credit card programs allow some type of direct redemption of their points via an online portal.|
|Convertible points||Some cards allow you to transfer earned points to other programs for equal and sometimes greater value. For example, American Express points can be instantly transferred to Delta SkyMiles.|
Basically, you pay for your flights or hotels using your points instead of cash.
POINTS/MILES = $$$
Not all cards are created equal. How I earn and use my rewards depend on the card, purchases I intend to make and my travel goals. That’s why I have so many. But I started with one for the specific purpose of getting to Costa Rica for free. This is how I did it…
My plan to use credit card points for free travel.
It’s simple but effective: Get a credit card that offers a signup bonus. when I charge a certain amount of money to the card in a set period of time, I will be rewarded with points or miles. I then use the reward to book my flight and hotel for free.
Step 1). Know your credit score: Get a free credit report with Credit Karma.
I didn’t want to hurt my credit by applying to a bunch of random cards and risk not getting approved. So I used Credit karma which is a free and effective way to check and monitor your score. At the time I was around the low 700s.
Step 2). Make a travel goal: Revisit the bucket list.
This part was easy since my friend already booked his trip. I had all the travel details I needed. For future travel, a few google searches and I have all the info I need for the next step…
Step 3). The card search: Use Awardhacker & Nerd wallet.
I used AwardHacker to find out which airline costs the least amount of miles from Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica.
I went to Nerd Wallet to search for cards and compare terms, perks and reward offers. I was able to read user reviews and avoid some bad cards. They also provide you with the recommended credit score needed for approval.
I landed on the Chase Sapphire card which offered the highest overall value. I could Earn 80,000 bonus points after I spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
That’s roughly $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. United Airlines is one of their many travel partners, which at the time offered direct flights to SJO. So this card was a no brainer. I signed up and was instantly approved.
Now, I had to figure out how to spend 4k in 3 months and still save up some spending money so I’m not just sitting in the hotel room all day eating packets of salsa.
Buy deeply discounted sneakers & flip them on Ebay, Stockx & GOAT for the full retail price.
It all started with an email from nike.com: “Black Friday Sale! Up to 45% off.”
I didn’t have any spare money to spend but I opened the email anyway. I saw a pair of Airmax 97s priced under $100. This is a shoe that normally retails for $170 plus!
I did a quick google search and saw that same pair of sneakers for sale for $150+ on ebay.
Now, Just because they are listed for that price, doesn’t mean they are selling many pairs or any for that price.
Before I risked my money, I had to have a bit more confidence that I could resell those shoes for that price.
I did a bit more research….
Ebay allows you to view recent sales history for any item. The last few pairs sold for between $130-$170!
I saw what I needed to see. I used my new credit card to purchase the shoes.
I immediately listed them for sale on ebay.
By the time they arrived in the mail, they were already sold. I made a $47 profit after shipping and ebay fees!
I made one flip but could I do it again and again?
I started browsing other sites like Eastbay. I found a pair of Air Force Ones for under $50 which I resold on ebay for around $85. I did the same with a pair of New Balance 574’s i found on Amazon.com
That’s when my master plan formed…
I would reach my spending goal by purchasing undervalued sneakers on digital clearance racks around the web and resell them for profit on ebay and other resale marketplaces.
Here’s how I did it…
My 4 step sneaker flipping method (No prior experience needed)
Step 1). The search for inventory: Start with your favorite retails.
My search began with the most popular shoe sites like Footlocker, Champs and Eastbay. I went straight to the “Sales” section and started scrolling. I looked for popular sneakers that were 25% or more off the retail price.
From my prior experience flipping sneakers I knew what models always sold for retail or more. I created a list of possible sneakers to buy & flip.
Here is My hit list of timeless sneakers that are always in demand:
|Air Jordan retro 1-13||Nike Air Max 1,90, 95, 97|
|Adidas Ultra Boost||Nike Blazer|
|Nike Air Force 1||Nike Cortez|
|Nike Dunk||Nike LeBron|
|Nike Air Huarache||Adidas NMD|
|Vans Old Skool||Adidas Superstar|
|Adidas Stan Smith||ASICS Gel-Lyte|
|Converse Chuck Taylor All Star||New Balance 574|
SIDE NOTE: I did not limit myself to just online shopping. I also shopped locally. Marshalls, Ross, TJ Max, department stores like macys, Dillard’s and Nordstrom’s rack and the clearance racks at foot lockers, champs and foot action and outlet malls are all gold mines.
Step 2). Research: See past sales history on Ebay.
I copy and pasted each shoe from my list into eBay. I then filtered my search results to show “sold listings”.
SIDE NOTE: Make sure you pay attention to shoe sizes in relation to price. They tend to fluctuate. The less supply of a certain shoe size on the market generally equals higher resale value.
I compared the sold price vs my cost. My goal was to make a min of $30 per shoe after fees (shipping & market place commissions). Any shoe I saw with a $50 spread I charged to my new card.
Use these fee calculators to determine potential profit on your next flip:
Step 3). List for sale: Ebay, Stockx, Grailed, Goat + more.
The key is to pay your credit card bills on time and in full every single month so you won’t have to pay interest. That gave me a window of 30-45 days to flip and get paid.
In order to flip quickly, I had to cast a wide net. I listed newly purchased sneakers on ebay, grailed, facebook sneaker groups, offer up, goat and stockx.
Most times I did not wait to receive the shoes in the mail. I used stock images from the retailer’s website. Once I had sneakers in hand, I updated photos on my active listings.
Once they sold, I shipped quickly, got paid and made a payment on my credit card balance.
Step 4). Repeat: Follow steps 1-3
I repeated this over and over for the next 3 months.
In that time frame, I spent roughly $4200 on sneakers and made over 2k in profit. More than enough points & cash travel for free and keep the drinks flowing.
Redeeming points: Turning your points into free plane tickets!
Before I booked anything I used AwardHacker to find out which airline costs the least amount of miles or points.
After identifying the best deal, I used Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal to book my flights and hotel.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: I had a fun time in Costa Rica & will return!
The whole fun in the points and miles game is to never pay more for a flight in points or miles than you would if you just paid for it in cash (with your credit card, of course).
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|How I flip sneakers and travel the world for free using credit card points (Cheat Sheet)|
Before you start:
Step 1.) Know your credit: Use Credit karma -a free and effective way to check and monitor your score.
Step 2.) Know travel goals: Where do you want to go & what do you want to do?
Step 3.) The card search: Use AwardHacker to find out which airline costs the least amount of miles then use NerdWallet or creditcardtuneup to find a card that’s right for you.
Earning your points:
Step 4.) Find undervalued sneakers on digital clearance racks around the web. Here is a mega list of every online shoe retailer’s sales page.
Step 5.) Research before you flip. Always view sold listings to gage profit potential. Make sure to factor in marketplace fees. Use this free calculator.
Step 6.) List sneakers sale. Ebay, Stockx, goat.