For years I had read tens of blog posts of travel hackers paying a tiny amount of money for flying business and first class flights. It does sound mythical, right? It even seems like a cheap way to get clicks to generate ad revenue. I thought so too, until I made an effort to actually try it.
If you have read this blog before you may know that I spend a great amount of money on Facebook ads for my e-commerce stores. For every $1 I spend, I get 1 loyalty point on my credit card which is worth 1 cent. Not a lot, right? I’d need to spend $100,000 in order to get 100,000 points that could be worth $1000. But that’s what the points are worth if I use them to make purchase directly from my credit card.
The points can be worth a lot more if I move them around as airline miles and so I made an attempt to do so.
I bought an economy class ticket for $772 while the business class was for over $1800.
I then moved 20,000 points from my credit card to Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles program. I earned these points by spending over $20,000 on Facebook ads. At the rate of 1 cent per point, these points had a face value of $200. But since I used these 20,000 points to upgrade my economy ticket to business class, I received $1028 in value from these points.
Since I’ve never paid for the business class I’m not sure if I’d feel good about flying one. I’ll probably be confused between the value received in comfort vs the cost incurred. With miles however, it’s a no brainer.
As strange as it may sound, the rich can buy the same things as others at a discount. Not just that, the rich can buy certain things at no cost at all. There are many examples to showcase this, but one example would be parking your money in a bank in a country of your choice to get citizenship. Just for placing your money in a country and financial institution of your choice, with no cost to you.
Similarly you could be flying businesses class upgrades for free or have access to business lounge access at various airports, just for having certain amount of wealth. While those who do not qualify for this threshold are asked to pay instead.
The weird thing about this is that rich are able to afford much of what they are given for free while the poor can not afford much of what they are asked to pay for. But the reason this happens is because money is a tool that is used to make more money. When you park your funds with a financial institution, they can use that to generate money for themselves and pass on a fraction of that to you in terms of certain benefits.
This is just a tiny example of what the wealthy get for their money. The real reason why I wanted to outline this today is because the wealthy generally never spend their principal. They always use money as a tool to generate more money for them which they can use for all of their expenses. They don’t use time as a tool to make money like most other people do. They use money as a tool.
Sure, you will need to trade time to make money if you’re just starting off. But if you want your end-game to look like the one outlined here, you should be making every effort to save that money to use as a tool.
My co-founder cross-questions a lot and assumes very little. Every time he is having a discussion with a Pakistani startup founder, he likes to compare the situation with a similar and often better startup in India.
The reason is that between the two markets, there are many similarities, and India is often slightly ahead in almost all markets. For example, in e-commerce the primary mode of payment in India is also COD just like in Pakistan. The advertising rates in India are just as low as the advertising rates in Pakistan. COD stays as the primary mode of payment despite that there are many payment gateways available and the credit card penetration is much higher.
When a Pakistani founder says that when X will happen in Pakistan, the company will grow very quickly. This is obviously an assumption. Saad then compares the situation with a similar startup in India where often the X has already occurred and more often than not the growth wasn’t seen as predicted or assumed by the Pakistani founder. This analogy helps avoiding the wrong assumptions.
Since India is running 5-10 years ahead in tech albeit having many market similarities, this comparison can frequently be used as a tool to project the future more accurately.
As I’ve written before, real wealth is built when your money is compounded. Similarly, wealth can never be built if you’re in debt because your debt is also compounded. I wanted to begin this blog post by highlighting the obvious and that is that you should never get into any kind of debt including credit card debt.
But the problem is not with your credit card but your spending habits. And with the right spending habits, credit card is your friend and not your foe.
In 2016, when we launched our dropshipping business, we did a massive spend on Facebook advertising. We were maxing out 4 credit cards daily and were clearing the credit card bills daily as well. We could have used our debit cards too, except that they don’t come with loyalty points, cashbacks, airline miles converting into free tickets, free fuel, chargeback privileges, and theft protection.
The key is that you must always use your credit cards like debit cards and never go in debt. You should always clear your bills timely, and never spend money that you don’t have. I advise you to enable “auto-pay” when getting your credit cards and link it to your current/checkings account.
Here’s a proof of me redeeming points for fuel just 2 weeks ago.
Not using credit cards is like leaving free money on the table. And not using them right, is like giving away your future money as well.