brian kelly

Maximizing Travel Rewards | Brian Kelly on Masters in Business

Check out the Masters in Business Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • “Budget travelers are the number one people who should be maximizing points”Brian Kelly
  • Facebook is the best social media marketing platform because of its massive audience and micro-targeting tools 
    • Important to remember that marketing on social media is also about cultivating your brand, not just your conversion ratio
  • Pack your clothes using the stack and fold method and invest in noise-canceling headphones
  • The Points Guy is releasing an app soon that will give personalized information on all your reward points needs
  • Three Great Credit Cards:
    • American Express Business Platinum for the perks
    • Chase Sapphire Reserve for travel and dining
    • Chase Freedom Unlimited for 1.5x points on everything
  • Advice for college graduates:
    • Treat your credit score like an asset
    • Being valuable and congenial will generally take you farther than staying at one place forever
    • “Make yourself uncomfortable; that’s how you grow.”Brian Kelly
  • We are in a golden age of travel — traveling is cheaper, faster, and safer than ever before

Books Mentioned

Intro

The Origin of The Points Guy

  • Brian started the site in 2010 as a side hobby while working at Morgan Stanley
  • The site exploded in 2011 when Seth Kugel of the NYT wrote a piece on The Points Guy after Brian answered Seth’s challenge to prove frequent flyer miles aren’t useless for budget travelers
    • “Budget travelers are the number one people who should be maximizing points”Brian Kelly
  • Around the same time Brian started affiliate marketing for the credit cards he reviews 
    • Then one sudden weekend Brian netted $30,000 in one weekend from affiliate links, prompting him to devote himself full-time to the site
  • A year later Brian sold the company to Bankrate but then decided to work for Bankrate in order to keep working on The Points Guy 

The Points Guy App

  • Coming soon in 2020
  • The app will give personalized information tailored to your needs rather than the identical experience TPG currently gives everybody
    • “Our app will be the next generation of our company” – Brian Kelly
  • Some features of the app:
    • The homescreen will be the net worth of your reward points
    • Automatic point tracking and information on efficiently spending points
    • Advising you on what cards to use for specific expenses

Social Media Marketing

  • Facebook is the best social media marketing platform for marketing because of its massive audience and  its micro-targeting tools 
    • Conversely, this is why marketing on Snapchat isn’t as effective. It has many active users but doesn’t provide such tools
  • Brian has recently started experimenting with TikTok marketing, but is wary that it might have similar issues to Snapchat
    • Also, TikTok’s audience skews very young
  • Remember that marketing on social media is also about cultivating your brand, not just your conversion ratio
  • For ‘traditional’ marketing, affiliates are currently where it’s at

Traveling Tips From a Professional Traveler

  • Stack and fold your clothes rather than rolling them 
    •  This method minimizes wrinkles 
    •  Brian explains the exact method in this video
  • The iPhone X and above supports dual SIM usage on one phone
    • You can easily swap between data plans when you travel with this feature
      • Verizon Wireless is currently the fastest and most reliable data plan internationally, but Google Fi is an inexpensive and reliable alternative
  • “I always have my MacBook Air, and I always bring my own TV shows and movies on planes” – Brian Kelly
  • Invest in noise-cancelling headphones
    • Besides granting peace and quiet, when you have noise-canceling headphones planes become a great place to meditate
  • If you are having a bad travel experience, try shifting your perspective from what’s bothering you
    • Researchers estimate that only 5% of the global population flies a year so you’re pretty lucky just to have the experience of flying
  • Never take sleeping pills before takeoff
    • You never know what kind of issues can suddenly occur

Three Great Credit Cards

  • American Express Business Platinum
    • Relatively high annual fee but it has some of the best perks available
      • This card will get you into most U.S. airport lounges
    • “A lot of times Amex has cheaper prices and more flexible fares. We book all of our travel at The Points Guy through Amex Travel.” – Brian Kelly
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • 3x points on travel and dining 
      • Travel includes tolls, parking, travel, and others — it’s quite a broad definition
    • No foreign transaction fees 
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited 
    • Unlimited 1.5x points on everything
      • The half point difference compared to the 1x of most cards may seem small, but it’s practically a 50% bonus
    • No annual fee

Advice For College Graduates

  • Treat your credit score like an asset 
    • If you mess it up it’ll take years to fix
  • Just because you can’t see yourself spending the rest of your life at a job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it
    • Being valuable and congenial will generally take you farther than staying at one place forever
  • “Make yourself uncomfortable; that’s how you grow.”Brian Kelly

Additional Notes

  • We are in a golden age of travel — traveling is cheaper, faster, and safer than ever before
  • Concurrently, Brian and Barry have both noticed that people have been acting odder on planes over the years
    • Some personal experiences:
      • People spreading their naked feet across people’s seats and clipping their toe-nails
      • Requesting that the pilot fly at a lower altitude in order to take a better picture 
  • The goal of learning is growth, not to be the best or smartest
  • Your academic performance doesn’t determine whether you’ll be successful so don’t stress too much over it
    • What’s more important in life is to throw yourself into something you love
  • The theoretical problem with teleportation:
    • You are taken apart molecule by molecule, essentially killed, then built molecule by molecule in another location
      • Are you still the same person?
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