People often ask me about the best ways to enter player 2 mode when it comes to the travel game. We're going to look at how to activate your significant other, best friend, or travel buddy to use their credit score to optimize for free travel.
Benefits of Activating Player 2
The main advantage of activating Player 2 is that it increases the value of your vacation.
If you're a someone with a lower income or looking to save money, the benefit of Player 2 is that you can get more free flights and hotels. The advantage of picking the right cards is that you can take trips that you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford (or want to spend money on).
Keep in mind that you don't want to open credit cards if you can't meet the minimum spend requirements for the signup bonus, or if you don't pay off the balance in full each month.
Activating Player 2 using flights is harder because the flight only lasts a few hours and it's harder to appreciate. It's hard to see the value for flights unless you purchase the ticket for them.
The best strategy would be to walk through your planning process and show how much value you're getting for "free."
If you're someone with a higher income, you might not think this is valuable. Percentages start to matter more, and you can opt for more experiences that you otherwise would not be willing to pay for.
For example, if I were a developer in SF making $150,000, optimizing credit cards wouldn't seem like it was worth my time. However, if I wanted to take an international first class flight, I would rather open two credit cards instead of paying $20,000 out of pocket.
Depending on the person, you can either run through the numbers and show them how much value they could be getting, or alternatively, show them a Casey Neistat video. You'd be amazed at how many people go from "not interested" to "Yes!" when they realize they can "Fly like Casey (Neistat)."
For hotels, it's slightly easier to see the value because it's more tangible than flights and they can experience it themselves. The other benefits of having a premium credit card that offers hotel status are that you can get free upgrades and sometimes, lounge access.
For example, if you have Marriott Gold status from the American Express Platinum card, you can often get free upgrades when available.
Whenever I travel, my budget is usually $100-$200/night for hotels. For an expensive city like New York, I would aim for the higher range, and for cities like Bangkok, it would be on the lower end.
Examples of outsized value where I would not be willing to pay out of pocket would be a night in Bora Bora or the Maldives. I wouldn't usually plan a trip there unless I had a free night certificate because hotels are so expensive.
If you're interested in activating player 2 and want some guidance on which cards to get, have your player 2 fill out a free card consultation form.