Acknowledgments xi Introduction xiii Section 1 Travel 1 Introduction 1 Real-Life Examples 3 Unsophisticated Honeymoon Turns Me into a Professional Traveler 3 How I Got a $40,000 Trip to Australia and New Zealand Almost for Free! 4 Turning Coins into a Million Miles (Or How I Made the Government $2 Million) 12 Hacking Together a First-Class Trip to Costa Rica (Or Why Buying Miles Can Be Smart) 18 A Quickie: How to Save $500 and Fly across the Country for Free at the Last Minute 19 How I Spent Weeks at One of the Nicest Hotels in the World for $20 (Or How to Turn Award Points into $54,000) 21 How to Rent 6,000 Square Feet of Steve Wynn?s Hotel for Barely $100 a Person per Night (Or How to Live Like a King without Betting Your Castle at the Tables) 32 TSA Precheck (Or How to Make It through Security without Taking Your Shoes Off) 35 My Very Inexpensive 1,500-Square-Foot Oceanfront Suite in Hawaii (Or How I Stayed in an Oceanfront Hotel Room Bigger Than My Condo) 38 How I Get Executive Platinum and 100,000 Miles for $1,500 (Or How a Bankruptcy, My Hometown, and Richard Branson Got Me Top-Tier Status on an Airline) 45 Little-Known Secrets to Getting Elite Status (Or How to ?Challenge? the Airlines and Win!) 48 Lounges (Or What Are Cuban Cigars and Chauffeured Porsches Doing at the Airport?) 52 How I Built Up More Than 5 Million Frequent Flyer Miles 64 Time-Saving Tools for Advanced Flyers (Or How to Do No Work But Still Get Award Seats) 66 Airline Alliances 5 Opportunity (Or How a Travel Hacker Goes Global) 67 Flying First Class to Hawaii for $285! (Or How the European Banking Crisis Just Bought You a Vacation!) 70 How Do I Do This Myself ? 77 Section 2 Shopping 99 Introduction 99 Real-Life Examples 102 How My iPhone and Service Plan Cost Half What Everyone Else?s Does (or How to Get Smarter About the Biggest Purchase Most of us Make) 102 All the Free DVDs a Kid Could Ask For (Or How to Get Banned from eBay) 106 Selling and Profiting from DVDs I Didn?t Own (Or How Amazon?s Canada Store and International DVD Arbitrage Helped Me Pay for College) 107 When Too Good to Be True Is Just Good (Or How I Got a Free $70 Coffeemaker) 109 How I Stumbled into $1,000 When My TV Broke (Or What You NEED To Have In Your Wallet) 111 Why Buy $10,000 Worth of Bose Products (Or How Red Envelope?s Bankruptcy Got Me My Headphones) 113 Can You Buy Everything Online? Almost. I Do! 114 But How Good Are the Deals? 115 Why You Should Never Buy a Mac at the Apple Store (Or Reason 1,343,206 That Everything You Know about Being a Consumer Is Wrong) 119 Why It Is Smart to Buy a Diamond Sight Unseen over the Internet (Or How Tiffany Stole Your Kid?s College Fund) 121 Coupons with No Threshold (Or Why I Own a Closet Full of Brooks Brothers? Clothes I Wouldn?t Have Bought Otherwise) 126 Who Would Order an Out-of-Stock Item? 126 Broken iPad and iPhone? No Problem 127 To Extreme Coupon or Not to Extreme Coupon (Or How to Save Money but Lose Time) 128 Who Buys Water over the Internet? (or How to Get Someone Else to Carry Your Water for You!) 129 How Do I Do This Myself? 129 Section 3 Personal Finance 135 Introduction 135 Real-Life Examples 136 How to Easily Buy Cars below the Factory Invoice Price (Or Why Invoice Price Is Meaningless When Shopping for a New Car) 136 How to Play and Win the Car Leasing Game (Or How to Lease a $60,000 Mercedes for the Same Price as a $30,000 Toyota) 148 Why You Should Never Get a Mortgage or Home Equity Line from Your Bank (Or How I Got a Sub-Prime Mortgage but Avoided Foreclosure 154 The Awesomeness of Credit Unions (Or How a 25-Year-Old Can Have Twice as Much Money in Retirement) 158 My Favorite 10 Credit Unions and the Secret Backdoors into 8 of Them (Or How to Climb in the Great Trojan Horse of the Banking System) 164 The Four Types of Credit Cards (Or the Four Good Types of Credit Cards Plus a Fifth You Can Ignore) 168 Balance Transfer Arbitrage (Or the Easiest $10,000 I Ever Made) 170 How to Create Your Own Business Line of Credit at 0 percent 175 How to Save $312 in 13 Minutes Every Six Months 177 The Quickest Way to Make $1,000 (Or Sign-up Bonus Success Stories) 178 How to Manage an Extra 100 Points on Your Credit Score (Or Why Downgrading, Bumping, and Reallocating Can Get You a 7401 Score) 181 Why More Credit Always Trumps More Credit Inquiries (Or Why Credit Inquiries Don?t Actually Hurt Your Credit Score) 186 The Best Place to Buy a Used Car (Or Why Your State Doesn?t Want You Buying and Selling Cars) 189 How I Got My Credit Score from 400 to Almost 800 (And How You Can, Too) 190 How Do I Do This Myself? 193 Conclusion 195 Index 197
Brad Wilson is the founder of BradsDeals.com, the largest editorial-driven deals website in the country with more than 67 million annual visits and more than 2 million daily e-mail subscribers. He is also the founder of TravelHacks.com, BlackFriday2012.com, and CyberMonday2012.com (as well as other years). Brad is regularly featured on such media outlets as the Today show, the New York Times , Time magazine, Oprah and Friends, and the Wall Street Journal .