After 7 days of travel hacking research, I think I have the basics down. The major mile earning strategies are fairly straightforward. Churning cards (with careful timing) and rewards programs are the high earning methods. Now, I see the rest of the month as exploring other ways to maximize points. At month's end, my hope is that I have a firm strategy in place, but one that takes very little time to manage and keep up. Efficient, easy, economical, and enjoyable (more travel!)
Tonight's general concept is a focus on finding all the ways to turn every expense into a mile-earning opportunity. The specific strategy is IRS payments.
I just came across this website and it has a zillion helpful tips:
"The IRS lists payment processors through with you may make payments to it via credit or debit card, including 1040, 1040ES and many other types. The credit card fee ranges between 1.88% and 2.35% (expensive miles). But the debit card fee is a flat fee ranging between $2.99 and $3.95, making this a very good deal for some payments via a debit card that earns miles. You may also make some state and local tax payments at Official Payments Corporation.(In the Taxes section.)
TurboTax, and possibly other tax preperation software, can be purchased via many miles and cash back shopping portals. For example, Big Crumbs offers 10.5% cash back for TurboTax as of January 4, 2013. (In the Taxes section.)
1,000 Southwest Airlines points for filing your federal return with TurboTax. (In the Taxes section.)"
That means I'll have to make sure I have a debit card that has rewards as well. My current debit card used to have minor rewards, but the bank has since discontinued the program. Stay tuned for a debit card reward comparison tomorrow...