Umesh Agarwal on travel hacking his way around the world
Right now, he’s focusing on expanding his business, Credit 101, and continuing to share his knowledge with the people who have the same aspirations.
They say nothing is impossible if you work smart and hard enough. For Umesh Agarwal, the founding member of Credit 101 LLC, an esteemed credit guru, he made his dreams come true by dreaming bigger and bigger as he came closer to success, paving his own way to a lush tour around the world.
Umesh travel hacked his way to success without even expecting that he would. Starting his career as a 6-figure salary engineer, he was building himself to become established in his chosen field. Even then, though, as he realized when he was flying to visit his family back in India, he was still too far from affording $10,000-$15,000 first-class tickets, which was the dream.
He was really determined to work his way to afford a more quality life until his co-worker introduced him to signing up for an airline credit card for big sign-up mile bonuses and using those miles to book business/first-class flights. He realized that there is a faster, more certain way to climb the ladder of success, and in 2016, he started venturing on the world of travel hacking.
By signing up for the same airline credit cards back to back, Umesh collected 150,000 miles from sign-up bonuses. “Then, I redeemed 100,000 miles to book first-class, which was worth $15,000 from the US to Asia, which came with in-flight Chef and Shower. I only paid $20 out of pocket for ticket taxes,” Umesh explains his first-class flight to Asia. From then, he continued his clever tactics for cheaper, luxurious flights.
Aside from traveling with miles, he has explored different ways to leverage credit, such as online purchases, cashback from portals, and even points from gassing up his vehicles. He also experimented with different credit cards and has used American Express cards for membership rewards, Freedom credit cards, among others, booking luxury hotels like The London Edition and Intercontinental Hotel in Los Angeles for little to no cash spent from his pocket.
From there, he expanded his network and built relationships with other credit gurus such as Dishant Shah, Brandon Wong, and Shawn Sharma. He also kept himself up to date with trends and information on travel and credit hacking by continuously researching for newer methods to up his game and reading a lot of blogs like DoctorofCredit, TPG (the points guy), OMAAT (One Mile at a Time), AngelinaTravels, among others.
When he became an expert in this field, he began cultivating his network using social media. On Instagram, he has 191,000 followers, many of whom he has mentored to increase their credit scores or to whom he has shared his travel hack techniques such as first-class hacks, TSA PreCheck hacks, AA Admiral Club hacks, Free check-in baggage hacks, and many more. He openly documents his milestones on his Instagram account, Umesh Agarwal (@real.umesh), from his clients’ success stories to his travels.
Right now, he’s focusing on expanding his business, Credit 101, and continuing to share his knowledge with the people who have the same aspirations he had when he was just starting out. He prioritizes productivity and growth in himself, aiming to share these same values to every client he handles. He understands that at the end of the day, the most important possession we can have that define success is not the private jets or the fancy hotel experiences but the virtues we hone and the lessons we learn on our own journeys.
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