Lifestyle Podcast Post

Maximizing Credit Card Points with Eli Facenda

George Grombacher April 15, 2022

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Maximizing Credit Card Points with Eli Facenda

LifeBlood: We talked about maximizing credit card points for travel and lifestyle, understanding our system of credit, how much money you can save doing it, what it takes to make it happen, and how to get started, with Eli “the Travel Guy” Facenda, optimizing travel for entrepreneurs. 

Listen to learn about how to transfer your existing credit card points!

You can learn more about Eli at, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening!  If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and subscribe as well. 

You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact us at contact@LifeBlood.Live.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Eli Facenda

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on on level this is Georgie and the time is right welcome today’s guest strong apart for Eli facente. Eli, you’re ready to do this.

Eli Facenda 0:19
Very ready George Murray to dive in. Thank you for having me on

george grombacher 0:22
here. excited to have you on. ULA is known as the travel guy he’s optimizing travel for seven to eight figure entrepreneurs without the headaches time or cost you like, tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work and why you

Unknown Speaker 0:34
do what you do. Yeah, thanks. And so I’m I’m based out of Austin, Texas, I decided to move here with the rest of the countries, we were actually just chatting about offline. Read about nine months of nomad travel and travels, my traveling entrepreneurship really are my two biggest passions. Fortunately, I’ve been able to combine those two passions together for two different businesses. When I first actually started out, I was the first employee at this international sports tour company, and still operate that today with my partners where we take youth sports teams and families on tours overseas. So I got into playing these international tours and travel and actually kind of stumbled into this whole credit game much like a lot of people do. And this whole points in travel world, because I was trying to save money for the company, because I was trying to get equity, and you know, provide value and showcase that and realize Holy crap, I just saved them, you know, 2030 40k a year. And I’m able to do this myself as well. And you know, travel for free and go to Thailand with my friends or take trips with my family or go on small vacations and stuff. So it really blew my mind at a very young age. Way down that rabbit hole, learn basically, almost everything there is to know about pole points in miles and how to travel hack is really what it’s called, and even learn some things about business credit, which is starting to plan as well, and how you can leverage that to start a scale business too. So through all those endeavors, you know, I was really blown away about what’s possible when you actually leverage this amazing system that we have here in the US to your advantage. And for years after that, start consulting other entrepreneurs on how to do the same, because it’s available for all of us, most of us just aren’t aware. And that’s really the challenge we’re solving for is awareness. And hopefully we can shift some of that here in this conversation today.

george grombacher 2:15
Yeah, love it. So you’ve talked about this amazing system we have, what do you mean?

Unknown Speaker 2:22
So what I mean is really how the banking credit system works here in the US, if you go to other countries, you’re not going to see the same type of lending, you’re not gonna see the same ease of getting capital you’re in, you’re certainly not going to see the same points in miles infrastructure. There’s some countries that have a little bit the Canadians have, you know, some opportunities in the UK, they have a little bit but really, really minuscule compared to what we have here, particularly with the points of miles game. What I mean by that is, you know, if you go to a appointed mild website, and you’re like, I need to get a new credit card, what should I get that has travel rewards, you’re gonna see dozens and dozens and dozens of options, you go to other countries and look for the same options, you might see like three, right, and so there’s just not the same opportunities ever see, so we really have incredible advantage taken, you know, to build on this opportunity. That’s really exclusive here in the US.

george grombacher 3:11
Nice. That probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that that is the case. But it’s certainly interesting to know. So. All right. So you spent a lot of time obviously digging into this world because you were trying to save money and, and demonstrate value. And were successful in doing that. And you said, Wow, this is this is incredible. So how how do the people that that you’re working with now? How do you interact with them? Walk me through sort of sort of the process. So this is interesting. What do we do?

Unknown Speaker 3:48
Yeah, so so it depends on the level of the entrepreneur and where they’re at if they have an assistant or not, because ultimately, this game is incredible. And everyone should be taking advantage of it if you’d like to travel right, so we’re gonna start there. Now if you like to travel and you have a business, you your time is also super valuable. And learning this stuff can take quite a lot of time, it can get kind of complicated. And that was the path that I went as I was reading blogs and watching YouTube videos and reading credit card websites and you know, kind of trying and failing in certain ways and I don’t really recommend that for entrepreneurs. Now if you have a lot of time on your hands and you just like this as a hobby, sure, go for it. If your time is valuable, you shouldn’t be doing it that way. So what we do is if you are an entrepreneur and you’re on this path will basically put together custom strategies for you so it’s really a three step process number one is analyze your your goals your lifestyle you’re spending on your business, you’re spending in your personal life where you are what airport you’re based off do you like hotels you like Airbnb is what kind of epic trips you want do on three bucket list trips where you go to Maldives overwater bungalow once a year and you go to Europe and stay in an awesome Villa and fly first class once a year. Or are you kind of traveling you know, a couple times a month for business conferences. What does that look like? So we get the goals down And then we create the strategy around how to optimize the right cards for your business and lifestyle. And while it seems like a small thing, it’s actually one of those things where it’s small hinges move big doors, right? So you have the, all these different types of cards, there are different types of points. And these points can be used in different types of ways, with different airlines or hotels. And it gets very, very personal and customized. And so a lot of people will come to me and ask me, like, Hey, I’ve got the chase, Sapphire reserve, that’s a great card, right? And I’m like, well, kind of It depends. But it really depends on again, all these other factors, like what do you spend on how do you want to use them all that stuff. So we analyze the, you know, the dream goals of what you’re gonna do. And we put together a really in depth strategy, talking about these different types of points and what makes sense for you. And then number three is to use them to actually create the lifestyle that you want, because that’s the that’s really the end outcome is you don’t really want the points you want the travel, and you want the experiences. And ultimately, what are those? Well, those are, you know, the memories and the, the fulfillment that you have in life and the you know, the unforgettable experiences. And that’s ultimately what this is truly about, it’s being able to get access to more of those at a higher quality more frequently without having to pay for it without having to go through the headache of again, learning all this stuff. So that’s how we’ll, we’ll work with entrepreneurs. Now, if they have an assistant, we will actually train their assistant on how to do this for them. So they don’t have to lift a finger. That is for more, you know, higher level entrepreneurs that do have an EA or really good dedicated VA. And that way, you know, whenever they want to travel, it’s it’s seamless, they don’t have to think about it at all. So those are the kind of the two levels that will operate with. And in some cases, people will, you know, we have a course as well as people go through that and learn things, but more typically more dedicated on working with a little bit higher level entrepreneurs as well.

george grombacher 6:42
Yeah, I appreciate that. So what is, what is sort of is, is there a baseline of saying, I travelled this much, or I’m spending this much that is sort of an entry point, or doesn’t that matter?

Unknown Speaker 6:57
So it’s really interesting that you asked that, because we get that a lot where people like, well, I don’t spend that much. So this doesn’t really apply for me, right? Not really true. To be honest with you, there’s a spectrum, the more you spend, the less effort and strategies required, the less you spend, the more effort drudgery is required to get your outcome. Now, if you’re not traveling at all, then you know, you’re gonna think, Okay, well, am I going to travel the future? The reason being is because there’s two types of wasted benefits from credit cards. When it comes to your spend, right, there’s cashback and there’s points. And if you use cashback, you know, you’re gonna get a fixed rate value on your money back, you’re getting cash, which everyone loves cash, right? So that’s simple, easy cut and dry. But there’s a limit on it, right, there’s a ceiling on what you’re going to get every time you swipe that card. Now, if you use points, when you redeem them for travel, there’s different ways that you can redeem them. One would be like through a travel portal. This is what 99% of people that are using points do, they’re just gonna log into the chase portal, Amex board, or whatever it is, or Bank of America portal, and they’re gonna redeem their points. Now, this is quick and easy, but you don’t get very good value out of it. It’s sort of cashback because there’s a there’s a cap value on how much you’re getting for every point, right. And the best way to do it is if you learn or have someone that’s able to help you with this, or do it for you, is how to transfer these points from the banks to the different airline or hotel partners that they have. And yet, oftentimes, double, triple or quadruple 5x means sometimes crazy 10x plus value on that. And so, when you think about what’s the right strategy for you, it does come down to how much you’re spending how much you’re traveling, but ultimately, if you travel at all, and you’re spending even more than, you know, $2,000 a month, then this is gonna work for you very well. So I would suggest people, you know, no matter what splashing around, they do get involved. It just depends on again, how much of a strategy is going to be required to hit your lifestyle goals. But for example, myself, and then we have our director travel here, his name’s travel like Tommy on Instagram, you check out his page, he was doing all this stuff, you know, without a business spending several $1,000. He’s doing this stuff on personal spend, I started out doing non personal spend only what was two 3k a month. And with the right strategy, I was able to get, you know, solid 1520 $30,000 a year worth of travel of first class flights and all this stuff. Now, it did take a little bit more work. But that’s, that’s available for you. And then as your business starts has been more, it’s much easier and easier to just maximize what’s already there.

george grombacher 9:15
Nice. So are the points that you accrue are are they owned by you?

Unknown Speaker 9:24
Yes. So the way that it works is it doesn’t matter if they’re earned from the business or from the individual, they go to the individual’s account, whoever the primary account holder on that card. So you can have a bunch of employee cards, you can have a bunch of authorized users, it’s going to go to your specific account. So that is something also when you have business partners you want to think about because if one person’s opening cards another name, you know, that person is certainly going to have all the points so you may want to have a game plan of how you’re going to split those or pull those. And each bank in an airline or hotel program has different rules around how you can split those up and how you can transfer them around. But generally speaking It’s always gonna be under the name of the account holder, and then there’s ways to break it up from

george grombacher 10:04
there. Okay. And I have to imagine that 99% of people have no idea that wait, I can actually transfer this and go directly to an airline, or a hotel.

Unknown Speaker 10:18
Exactly, exactly. And so a common example of this is going to be, you know, especially with hotel prices lately, like I was just in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico over New Years, not that long ago. And I’ll just give you a comparison, right? So this hotel room that I was staying is at the Grand Hyatt beautiful property, it was around like $1,200 per night. Now, if I were to use my points through the chase, portal $1,200, at, I would have gotten 1.5 cents per point, that’s going to be around more or less, at the same hotel room for 20,000 points a night, right? So I was able to get four nights at the same hotel, where would it cost me all my points to get one night, the other version of that situation. So just knowing how to transfer is an immediate increase in value, all you’re doing is taking the same points and just moving them the right way. And you can do the same thing with airlines and all that it does get a little more complicated airlines, but it’s still there. And still, you know, still very attainable.

george grombacher 11:24
Nice. So. Um, so if you were to use a traditional portal, I think you mentioned it was 1.5, or $1.50. For each dollar that was sort of the leverage, but be able to go outside is, is there sort of a rule of thumb that says, here’s how much you could sort of expect? Or rather what’s possible? Or when when somebody says, How much could I really save? Do you have numbers that that you share with them? Obviously, it depends.

Unknown Speaker 11:55
Yeah, we actually break down to a calculator. Because this is it’s kind of cool. The whole thing with credit points, it’s very much like taxes, like it’s very mathematical and algorithm and calculation based, where if you spend this on this amount, these cards get this amount of return back on these categories that you spend on you spend this frequently, you travel this much you spend this much on travel, run a bunch of numbers, and it can kind of spit you out a general ballpark of, okay, this is going to mean that you’re, you’re leaving about $25,000 a year on the table, if you were to fully optimize this, right? So it’s not always gonna be 100% exact, but it’s pretty dang close. And, and yeah, similar to how an accountant can audit your spending, and start to look at okay, well, if you did this with your your costs here, and you change this and you buy real estate, here, you do this with your taxes, you know, we can basically reduce your tax liability, it’s the same, the same exact function just in a different part of your business or just a different part of your life.

george grombacher 12:47
Nice talk about a really, really simple thing. Although obviously, it’s really, really hard and you figured out how to do it, but what a simple thing that somebody can do just to make the shift and potentially be saving 10s of 1000s of dollars.

Unknown Speaker 13:02
Absolutely. And ultimately, in my experience is not just about the money saved. And for a lot for a lot of entrepreneurs too. If you’re doing pretty well financially, you could probably pay for a lot of this. But number one, you have that little sting like oh, man, it really sucks to pay $4,000 A ticket for a business last, you know, Blizzard, business class flight to Europe. So there’s that. And so they may lead you to talk yourself out of the experience. And ultimately, just having the ability to, you know, book anything on points, whether it’s last minute or it is more epic, luxurious trip, it’s just going to allow you to basically have less friction between you and these amazing experiences that you probably thought of when you first started a business and you were like, only create this amazing business owner and awesome lifestyle. And you worked on that vision, you had a vision for like where you were gonna go, a lot of people along the way, they start to become very practical, which makes sense, but they end up missing on all these awesome experiences in life that are available to them, because of the cost or because of other factors. And so to not have to pay for it. It is partially about obviously the money that you actually tactically save. But a lot of it is like the shifting your psychology around what you now allow yourself to do. And then the experiences you’re going to have the memories you’re going to create with those people, the fulfilling, that’s going to bring you in and just really the the full depth of life experience you’re going to get out of

george grombacher 14:17
it. Jim, love it. That makes a lot of sense. What is how long does it take to to implement this program?

Unknown Speaker 14:26
Yes, it was people are seeing really, really good results within 90 days. It’s not long, somewhere even quicker, again, depends a little bit on how much you spend where your credits at if your credits low, we need to do some things to improve that is that and then there’s also the aspect of, you know, are you looking to get funding and get access to business credit, and in leverage that to scale because there’s a little bit of a, an additional layer to the strategy that you want to implement there. But 90 days is typically the length into a lot of these cards. You know, one of the best ways you’re going to earn points is through signup bonuses on new cards, and typically those are going to be a 90 day signup bonus. So by that period you’ll your points will have had and you’ll have had, you know, a few 100,000 points for and that you can then use for some awesome trips. So that tends to be the sweet spot. But again, some people it’s even faster some people if you have to do some other work in the front end, it might be a little bit longer, but yeah, pretty, pretty easy for 90 to 120 days to get some pretty cool results,

george grombacher 15:20
and then maintaining it. What does that look like?

Unknown Speaker 15:24
It’s like maintaining the system of having these cards and how to do all that. Yeah, it’s a great, it’s a great question and one that most people don’t ask. So I appreciate you bring that up. Because you get into it, you get excited. And then if you again, let’s just use example, the entrepreneur, you got a lot going on, get a lot of you know, balls in the air already, you don’t need to add this whole extra part time job of managing your credit. That’s not the point of this. And if you don’t have a good system, that’s what will happen, or the system will break and will hurt your credit or you’ll get you’ll start paying interest. But if you have a good system, like a really simple system for things to be set up automatically, reducing your time reducing your headaches and having to track all this stuff. And using the tools and apps and all the things that are out there, that you set that up once that takes 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and then from there forward, you don’t have this risk, you don’t have this also this mental energy that goes into trying to keep up with all this stuff. So that’s how you want to maintain it, you have to have a good system. But a couple of quick tips a lot of people don’t know this possible. Number one will obviously this one, a lot of people do know as possible, but set up auto pay. Now, I always suggest it set this up for a few days before your your payment is due. And I set it up personally for the minimum payment amount so that I never have a late payment, right. But I like to go in manually and review my charges and make sure we’re not getting overcharged on stuff. It’s paid that once a month manually. Now, if you have a lot of cards, which I don’t always suggest for a lot of people to as that starts add up, that could turn into a lot of different times to check in. So what do you want to do? Well, you can actually contact the bank and ask them to move your payment due date to a different date. And so if you have cards with five different banks, you can ask all of those different banks to move all of your cards to roughly the same day, usually within a couple days. So now you’re doing that once. So instead of logging in and trying to think, oh, it’s the second, now I got to pay the fifth, I got to pay, you do a one time a month, you have you have auto pay set up and then you’re logging in for 30 minutes, reviewing stuff and paying it and now you’ve just bashed everything, and you don’t have to think about it again, until next month, you know, in the absolute worst case, you’re not going to have a late payment, which is what we’re absolutely trying to avoid. So those are a couple that there’s more to that. But that’s a simple way to manage it. So that you don’t have to have this, this concern of having too many cards. And one of the thing that is really important understand is how your credit score works, which I know you just had a recent guests on to talk about. But you really need to understand these different factors. Because as you open up more cards, your scores actually going to build in a very positive way, it’s just you have to do it the right way in the right order and over the right amount of time. But to have perfect credit score, you actually have to have over 21 or more different accounts on your report. So most people have one credit card two credit cards and like I don’t want to open a third, it’s gonna hurt my credit score, like we’re having to buy clothes, this, those are really all myths, you that’s not necessarily what’s gonna happen, you just don’t want to open 10 cards, the ones right, that’s a little bit of a extreme example, but you have to do it slowly. And you have to do it responsibly, and you’re going to be in really good shape.

george grombacher 18:17
Nice, I appreciate that. While you like the people are ready for your difference making tip, what do you have for them. So,

Unknown Speaker 18:24
excuse me, I’m actually gonna give you two different speaking tips. One is going to be when you’re earning points, make sure you’re earning what they call transferable bank points. Because there are all sorts of different points out here, we just talked about moving them from a bank to like a, you know, a Chase, Citi Banamex or Capital One, those are really the main ones. And converting those into airline or hotel points. That’s where your best bang bang for your buck is going to be. If you’re earning points on a Southwest card, or an American card, or a Marriott card, or you know Bank of America card, all of those are going to be less valuable than Chase city, Amex or Capital One. So I’d really start with those four banks, that’s going to almost be across the board. And then the second little nugget here is gonna be if you are traveling, you should want 100% beginning a card that has amazing perks and benefits. So this would mean when you’re going to the airport, your experience is just way better. You don’t have to go through TSA PreCheck or you get to use clear. So now you skip right through the lines, you’re not taking your shoes off, you know doing that whole thing. You also get airport lounge access, you’re not paying for bags, there’s all sorts of perks, benefits that come from a lot of cards. And oftentimes, depending on your lifestyle, again, in your your situation, there’s probably one maybe two cards, they’re going to have really all the parts that you need based on your travel to really create an amazing experience for you. So definitely make sure you’re optimizing that experience too. Because every piece of the travel process that you can make into instead of a headache and like I’m sitting here at the airport and like I get to go to the airport and go to the lounge Who am I gonna meet there’s other people get to network where there’s free drinks, free food, you know, it’s gonna be a breeze getting through, it shifts the entire experience makes it way more fun and enjoy Well, so those are a couple of quick nuggets for you guys.

george grombacher 20:03
Well, I think that is great stuff that definitely gets Come on. You like, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Unknown Speaker 20:11
Yeah, so I post quite a bit on LinkedIn and Instagram. Those are my two biggest places really Instagrams, the biggest one. So if you’re gonna, you know, have interest in reaching out to me, I would definitely just shoot me a message there. That’s Ely travel guy. So that’s on Instagram. There have been some fake accounts of me going around lately. So it’s just Eli travel guy just build normally, there’s only one account. Okay, so that’s, that’s one there. LinkedIn is good too. Or just check out my website, which is freedom travel And you can reach out to us there too, but Instagram is really the main place that I hang out.

george grombacher 20:46
Excellent. If you enjoyed as much as I did show ILA your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas, file Eli on Instagram under Ely travel guy, and LinkedIn as well and then go to freedom, travel and dig into it. And if you’re spending money on travel, and interested in getting some of that back in a more efficient way, engage and see if it’s a good fit for you. Thanks, Guinea. They Thank you. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

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