How to leverage credit for free travel and business growth ⎜ Freedom Travel Systems ⎜ EP 136

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This is a podcast episode titled, How to leverage credit for free travel and business growth ⎜ Freedom Travel Systems ⎜ EP 136. The summary for this episode is: <p>Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Eli Facenda of Freedom Travel Systems about how to leverage credit for free travel and business growth.</p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is Presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="https://usa.pingpongx.com/us/index?inviteCode=ccpodcast" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CrossoverCommerce" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.facebook.com/CrossoverCommerce</a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="https://www.youtube.com/c/PingPongPayments" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/c/PingPongPayments</a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/pingpongglobal/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/company/pingpongglobal/</a></p>

Ryan Cramer: What's up everyone? Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is Crossover Commerce, presented by PingPong Payments, the leading global payments provider, helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey guys, welcome to another episode of Crossover Commerce. My name is Ryan Cramer, and this is episode 136 of my show. This is my corner of the internet, where I bring you the best and brightest in the Amazon e- commerce space, and extending that today into the business world into credit and travel which is kind of the, not the topic that everyone loves to talk about today, but I know everyone wants to get back to eventually. It's something that I'm really excited to dive into today, live with our guest today. But before we get started, just want to give a shout out to our presenting partner, PingPong Payments. PingPong Payments allows for sellers internationally to send and receive remittance all over the world internationally, their VAs, their suppliers and manufacturers, no matter where they might be to get their money back to them over to their location at a safe and affordable cost. That being said, we've helped over 150 million customers worldwide and have a done over 90 billion in cross border payments, which is fantastic to do. It's safe and secure. It's free to sign up. Go ahead and check out those links in those comments section in the show notes below for your free account today. Instead of saving and putting money to your bottom line today, which will of course, is what we're going to be talking about today and making your money work for you. That's the teaser I put out there today on social media is make your money work for you. Not a lot of people know how to do it, but when you do become very well versed in how to make your money work towards you, again, it could be in any asset of your life, personally and professionally, you want to make your assets work for you so that you can grow faster, be more comfortable in your travels or whatever your growth opportunity trajectory might be. But then also just making sure that you know that every option is taken care of in that regard. That's why I wanted to bring in our guest today. His name is Eli Facenda. He actually has been over to 35 different countries worldwide. He started in the travel industry, just as a person who... I mean, obviously we'll get back more into his background, but he's fascinating because he wants to have credit work for you basically so that you can travel and help your business grow, and we're going to be tying into that topic today. Without further ado, let's bring on Eli Facenda of Elite Travel Systems, I believe is. There you go. Let's bring in Eli. Eli, thanks for joining Crossover Commerce.

Eli Facenda: Awesome. Yeah, thanks for having me here. I'm really excited Ryan to be here and share this hopefully really valuable information for a lot of your audience. I think this is a cool topic that a lot of people are interested in, like you said, but a lot of people don't really fully understand the power of what it means to fully leverage your credit, both to grow your business and to get tons of free travel, so I'm really excited to dive in, share more of my insights and hopefully provide a lot of value to you and the audience.

Ryan Cramer: Love it, man. Yeah, and we connected actually over Instagram, which is where a lot of your audience is. But your background was fascinating for me in this context of making money work for you because it sounds very cliché, right? A lot of people say like, oh, make your money work for you. What does that really mean? How do I make my investments and assets work for me? Without like going into super complex novelties, what made you want to get into an industry and focus on this? Does that make sense?

Eli Facenda: Yeah, totally. I mean, a quick background story on that is, like many entrepreneurs, I kind of stumbled into it by accident. When I was graduating school, I had the opportunity to join this international sports tour company, which I still run with two business partners now, and we take sports teams on tours all over the world to compete and this cool cultural experience in vacation, and it's amazing. But when we were starting out, I was an employee, I was trying to get equity, and one of the big costs of the company was travel. I had heard about this points thing and I was like, hmm, maybe if I can showcase my value with eliminating this line item or reducing it, or saving us a lot of money, increasing profit margin, that I'll kind of showcase my value and also be able to get equity at some point soon. I started to learn about it because I wanted to save the company money. I also learned, through that system, at the same time, I was a young entrepreneur, I was hustling. I was doing, running, trying to build that business, I was coaching baseball lessons. I was driving Uber. I was working around. I was doing all the hustling entrepreneur type things. I wanted to travel myself, and that was what really drew me into entrepreneurship and this idea of being your own boss and having freedom of flexibility. I remember learning about this and being like, oh, I can do this myself too. I started to learn how credit works and how you can leverage it for yourself and how the power having a business that has high expenses allows you to do that even faster. That was how I got into it. Over the last six, seven and years, I really dove super deep down the rabbit hole into all things and points and miles and travel with credit. Also, how do you leverage business credit to scale? Because there are kind of two separate elements there, and how do you maximize your personal credit so that you can get into this game? Because if you don't have good personal credit, you can't do either of those things. That's how I got in and where it led me and it's just been an absolute blast, because like I mentioned, most entrepreneurs, I've talked to some that know about points, they have some here or there, or they have a little bit of credit, but they're leaving so much on the table and they don't know that yet, so it's fun to share that.

Ryan Cramer: Well, and that's what our audience is about, is our customers are... We're always preaching how to keep that money that's on the table and keep more of it, and I think that's the fascinating tie that we have with each other is there's so much more opportunity out there. For everyone, again, this is not to tell you like what you do with your finances. This is how to take your finances into, obviously, I'm assuming what you're gonna say, Eli, is to scale it and make it work for you, whatever situation you might be in. Our audience is mainly in the e- commerce and Amazon space. A lot of it is I want to break away from working for other people, work for myself, develop a product. Lots of money goes into it, developing product solutions, services, and sourcing, the whole nine yards. When should I start worrying about my credit and start applying your principles to my business? Is that right way? Or is it down the road, or when should that become up at the forefront?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. It's a great question. There's a couple aspects to that. Number one is, how clear are on your business goals and what you want? Because if you don't really care about travel, there's still a lot of great ways to leverage credit to grow your business and play the cash back game, and even just basically use that to increase your profit margin. But if you're clear that you want to travel, then I would say immediate because it's pretty powerful on that side. If you're clear that you want to grow and you don't have a massive amount of liquidity or you don't want to use all of your own cash, those should be some of the signals that say like, hey, I should really explore this credit thing. Because if I can use other people's money to grow my business and I can use points to travel for free, how many doors will that open towards the vision or the goals of the business and lifestyle. I would say get clear on that. And then, otherwise, the other thing that brings a lot of people to the door here is a lot of times people aren't necessarily looking at it for travel or business at first. It's that they've had a bad credit experience before, maybe they had a late payment or collection or something like that. And they had to learn a little bit about how credit works because it was just a mystery to them before. And then they start to wonder, what else can I do with this? Okay. That's a couple of the ways that most people get into it, but I would say get clear on your goals and see if having access to more capital, see if having access to more funds and more credit lines, and having a ton of points of travel for free would help you get there faster. If the answer is yes, then there's no need to wait, because the earlier you do this stuff, the earlier build relationships with banks, the earlier you start accumulating points and learning how it works, the better it is for longer term.

Ryan Cramer: Sure. Obviously, as a consumer, I have a couple different credit cards. Is this something that I can do that these systems... You learn about it, and a lot of people, there are so many different financial coaches out there, and they will say like, hey, don't have a credit card. Only work with the debit cards and the cash that you have on hand, the capital at hand. But with businesses, I think it's a little bit different scope because you don't have the capital or the ability to put that all up front. If you do, that might be everything you have. So, what's that philosophy behind using credit or using investments or outside sorts of funding in order to get you started and then allow you to get your wheels turning a lot quicker, faster?

Eli Facenda: Sure. Yeah. I mean, it ultimately comes down to risk and what the risk reward is for you. There's guys out there, Dave Ramsey is a big one. He's a big proponent of like use cash only, use debit cards, don't use credit cards. I think that's really good advice for maybe the majority of people that are not going to be financially responsible. The honest truth is most people aren't financially responsible. If you're able to be financially responsible and learn how credit works, then it becomes blatantly obvious that this is just a better option. The reason being number one, if you're going to try and start a business and you need to grow, you need money somehow, right? Especially if you're an e- commerce, you got to buy inventory, whatever type of commerce business that you're running, you're going to need access to capital and credit, so what do you do? Do you use your own personal money that could be going into long- term compounding investments? Do you give up equity in a company and try to go raise funds? Do you go, try and get like a conventional loan? Which is pretty difficult. Maybe you go get private money. That's going to have really high interest rates. Do you use your own personal credit? You could do that, but now you're going to wreck your credit score. There's this option of business credit, right? And that's getting access to other people's money. We've all heard of OPM probably, and leveraging that. If you look at what most big businesses are doing, or most bigger players in the entrepreneur space, they're taking risk if they're building their business with other people's money at low or 0% interest, and then they're putting their own money, protecting that, and building their long- term wealth by putting it into long- term compounding investment vehicles. That's what the majority do. Now, from a standpoint of using debit and cash versus credit, once you see the power of doing this, the only thing that can go get in your way is if you become financially responsible, which means, are you overspending, or are you not able to put things on a 0% card when you should? Or do you start to miss payments because you don't have a clear system or financial discipline to make sure you're making the payments on time? But if you get organized with that stuff, which is well worth it, there's... It's not that complicated, then it's very much a clear, just like, this is a much better way to grow. Because the alternative leaves you growing really slowly. If you're using your own cash, you can bootstrap, but then you're waiting until sales come in to be able to really grow and it's just a much slower process. If you're all in on being an entrepreneur, being a business owner, and that's the trajectory you want to go in and you're committed to yourself, then I think using credit is going to be, by far, a better, faster and easier method to get you to your end goal faster.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. When a lot of people say they start their business, I've heard the stories of, hey, I opened a couple different credit cards and I use that to finance my first order from China, or wherever I'm sourcing from, what does a credit card company look at in terms of your opening a business credit card? Because you say it's different than personal. My personal credit score would be reflective if I'm buying a house or a car, an asset like that, does that tie into business credit or does that tie, or are they completely inevitably separate in that crosstalk.

Eli Facenda: You're bringing up such a great point. I really want to touch on this because it's a mystery to most people and it's very important. So, the way that business credit works is there is basically, there's a personal credit score and then there's a business credit score. Now, to get business credit, you do not have to have, we don't really have to have any business credit score. You don't have to have a good business credit score. It doesn't really matter. It will help you. Yes, it's there. It's absolutely available. If you build it, it'll help you get bigger credit lines, but that's part one. Let's separate the scores. Now, what is the difference between actually getting business credit versus personal credit? It has to do with which legal entity is basically associated with those credit lines. For you as an individual, it's your social security number. In the eyes of the IRS, that's attached to your name. In the eyes of the IRS under business credit, it's attached to the business. Now, we've all gone through an application for stuff and you do have to like sign something, right? Even if you're a small business owner and it's under a business, under an LLC, an S- Corp or a C- Corp, you still have to personally guarantee that debt, which means you're going to sign it. If you're putting down a personal guarantee and the bank is saying, hey, worst case scenario, this business goes out of business, because really in the eyes of a bank, any small business is risky, right? And that's why they require that personal guarantee until you're doing significantly higher volume and you're really operating like a bigger corporation. But if you're at that smaller level, like most people listening to this, then they're going to require a personal guarantee, and that's where your personal credit does matter, because they're saying, if this business defaults, can this individual, are they reliable enough to pay this pack? Because if you think about how it works from a system, banks are looking for credible borrowers. That's how they stay in business. They want to lend. That's how they operate. So, they're looking for people with the best possible credit scores because they know those people are the most reliable to actually make sure that the money comes back to them if things go wrong. You do need a good personal credit score to get access to business credit and there are other nuances to it. This is where you really need to learn the details how it works or go speak with someone, or really research this stuff because there's kind of unwritten rules of getting business credit, especially if you want to maximize it. Because you can go apply for a card and maybe get a$2, 000 limit. But if you're trying to scale an e- commerce store, that's not going to do that much. But if you can get a $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, $50, 000 limit and you get a couple cards, now you're really in the game. There's different order sequences, the checklists, things you want to go through to really maximize that. We can touch on some of those here if need be, and ways you want to set up your business and really have everything in place before you go to apply if you really want to optimize getting access to that capital.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Because the research I always do and the financial responsibility that I have is clearly, there's all those rules in play. For personal credit, it's never having late payments, it's don't try to take out multiple credit cards, or don't have late payments in terms of paying on time and in full. You don't want to just pay minimum, you want to pay full always. You said financially responsible is the best way to go in that regards. You said there's a sequence of events. Does that mean like opening a credit score and making that work, maximizing those" perks" as you open them? And then once that is over, you let it, you move it to the side, don't use it for a while, and then move on to the next one? Or what's that sequence of the events? I'm really curious about that.

Eli Facenda: Sure. Yeah, and I like to break things into five steps for people, so we'll kind of talk about this high level, how credit game works and more for card points of miles, and then we'll talk this specific steps. I break into five steps. Number one is understand the rules of the game. Number two is basically create your application strategy there. Number three is going to be maximize business credit. Number four is going to be leverage your points effectively. And number five is going to be create the system to be able to keep this organized and simplified. What we're talking about right now is understand the rules of the game. Now, you mentioned a couple things in your credit score. So, there's five factors of credit. Payment history is number one at 35%. Utilization is number two at 30%. Average age is number three at 15%. Credit mix is number four at 15%, and then new credit is 10%. When you start to understand, this is... Your score is a weighted average. Really, the key is you need to have your score over 700, really over 720 to get most good rewards cards and really access to any business credit. When you are looking at your score, you can look at, where am I strong or where am I weak in a lot of these categories? Because you were talking about not having a late payment yet, because that's a big factor of credit. If you're using a lot of the credit that's being lent to you, aka utilization, how much you're using versus how much that's being lent, then if you use a lot of that, your scores are going to go down because it looks like this person might default soon. What is the order and sequence of stuff? Well, first, you need to get your credit score over 700. You need to understand these factors and understand how opening a new card or not opening a new card may impact your credit. Because a lot of people are sitting there with two or three cards and they're afraid to open a fourth because they're like, I don't want to get a new inquiry. I don't want to get a new card. It's going to hurt my score. When in reality, over the long- term, it's really going to help. In fact, to have a perfect credit score, you need to have 21 or more different accounts reporting to your personal credit. Most people have no idea that's how it works. So, you want to build this up and you want to do it just slowly over time. So, you're improving your payment history, so you're using less of your utilization. So, you're getting, in the higher average rates, you're getting more credit mix, and you're not getting too many cards in a short period, which is the inquiries. That's the foundations on the personal credit side. You want to understand that. Then when you go through like the idea of thinking about applications, you want to look at, okay, what are the requirements for business credit in general? A couple of those things we just mentioned. You have to be over 700 and 720. There's a few other kind of nuances there, but you also need to understand the bank rules because there's unwritten bank rules, so to speak, that will basically automatically get you declined at certain banks. For example, Chase has one called the 524 rule, which means that if you've gotten five or more personal accounts in the last 24 months, you'll get declined for any card with them, regardless of how good your score is or anything. It's just an internal rule. It's not like written on the website, but that's how they work. Each bank has kind of different nuances. So, you want to understand, when you're putting together, do I apply for this one first, or this one first? How do I handle that? You got to understand the rules because you don't want to just go out blindly start applying to get rejected. Because that's not fun and it'll ding your credit a little bit. Yeah, so those are a couple things there and I'm happy to dive in a little more into those, but those are some of the thought processes that you want to have when you're thinking about, how do I go through thinking about applying, and really optimizing this game.

Ryan Cramer: You said they're unwritten rules. How do people figure out these nuances? Is it just people in the banking world that just like, that education and thought leadership is all pulling around it? And so that it leads you down this, I won't say easy path, but what are those factors beforehand that I need to know so that I don't, like if I don't have one of those check marks, it all is going to come crumbling down. Because it almost sounds like a very delicate house of cards, if you will. If I'm not stacking it appropriately, it all might backfire on me. That's not a possibility, is it?

Eli Facenda: No, not quite like that. It's more just that you would just be applying for stuff and getting rejected, or you'd get approved for a business credit card, you'd get a really, really credit limit because you didn't do things in the right order. In terms of these unwritten rules, to answer that question, they're very written on the internet. They're just not written on like the bank's website. That's more-

Ryan Cramer: It's like fight club. It's like, we don't talk about the first rule of fight club.

Eli Facenda: Exactly. Exactly it. Yeah, and that's kind of the game there. Now, how they've been discovered, so I mean, a lot of people have been playing the credit game for a while, and so there's these communities online where, if you have so many data points that are getting the same response, you can excavate this rule, and be like, okay, well, clearly this is a thing because we had a thousand people that just did this, 900 had this response, 100 had here, so we know this is kind of a rule. But also, sometimes the banks will, let's say you apply for something and you get rejected and you'll be like, why was I rejected? They'll tell you on the rejection letter, but it's not something that they would've just like publicized on their website upfront. That's something with those individual kind of banking rules. Then in terms of things backfiring, it really doesn't backfire. The only way that this goes wrong for people in terms of leveraging business credit or playing the points game is there's really a couple simple ways. One is you start to overspend to hit sign up bonuses with points when you don't need to. Because that is totally not going to work for you. Number two is if you get too many cards, you can't organize it, and then you basically just have late payments and your credit gets hurt, which if you have a system, it's really easy to organize that. You set up auto pay. We can go through that, but that's really simple. Then number three is going to be, if you basically, let's say you're leveraging business credit and you're doing 0% interest business credit and you think, okay, I'll get$ 20,000 on invest in the business. I have 12 months at no interest, and then I'll pay it off then at the end of the period, and it turns out you didn't have a winning strategy, and you put that money somewhere and you lost it, now you owe $20,000, or it's going to start accumulating interest. That's the only real way. That's why it's important again, as an entrepreneur, you've got to be all in on your business if you're going to leverage this and all in on having a winning strategy because you are basically lending to yourself, but you're going to have to pay that back at some point. It's not just like it goes away.

Ryan Cramer: Right. What about, is there certain things I'm spending credit card on and then otherwise I'm paying like straight outright for it? For example, if I'm an entrepreneur, there's other facets, like I can't use credit on, right? I can't use it to pay my employees salaries. I can't use it to... Certain facets along the way. What am I using credit in my business for in order to build that good equity and kind of with myself and then growing it moving forward? Is it certain topics or areas and we're avoiding others?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. Great question. There's a couple things here. Number one, to most people's surprise, you can pay almost anything on a credit card, mortgages, employees. There's basically third party services that will allow you to do that. They will charge you a fee if you're going to do that. Now, in that event, if you were going to go that route, you just need to make sure this is the return I'm getting from the point so the leverage makes sense to eat that fee. Because in some cases it will, in some cases, it won't. If you're doing real estate investing, this is an e- commerce conversation, but a common thing is someone's going to get private money or hard money and it might be 10%, 11% interest, and if they're only paying a 2.5% fee versus 11%, it's a pretty good deal. So, you can look at it that way. Now, but where should you really be leveraging credit? Let's take that part out of it. So, you don't want to eat that fee. It just doesn't make sense. It's not worth it. Then what you really wanna be doing is you want to be... Anything that can normally go on a card, any kind of everyday purchases, whether it's online purchases, physical purchases, services that you can put on a card that you're not going to charge a merchant fee for, you want to do that. You want to understand how these different bonus categories work, because as a business owner, if you have a certain kind of bonus category for purchases, whether you buy a lot from groceries or a certain type of online retailer, or something like that, if you get cards that align well with those types of purchases, you're going to be getting a lot more points, or if you're playing the cash back game, you're going to be getting significant amount more cash back, which turns into a much higher kind of profit for you at the end of the day. You want to analyze that. You can do that for both personal life and spending or, and business. Then the way that I like to say it is, if you have a credit card, you want to look at, this is some nerdy stuff, but you want to look at, am I getting a high enough floor on every dollar that I spend? Because most cards will earn at least one point per dollar spent, but is there a way that I can get 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything or two points per dollar spent on everything. And then in a certain category, I can get three or four points. Then, as you're spending as a business, the number of points you're racking up is significantly more than it would be with just one small little tweak.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Because in some categories, you always see it advertised, right? Of like 2% on gas or something like that. That's for individual people. Does that apply to your businesses too? Like 2% when you buy wholesale or 3% when you travel, I mean, obviously, I think it has the same categories, but those aren't advertised anywhere so where what are those different like categories that are really going to start racking you up points quicker?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. They're usually going to be on the application for the card. It will say all those benefits. So, you just have to look at the card application page, or ask someone that knows this and they can help you out and analyze it for you. A couple of the big ones for business, I mean social media ads. So, if you're running ads for your e- commerce store, depending on what business model you're operating, those will be a high bonus category for a couple of cards. There's shipping expenses, internet, cable, dining, travel, groceries, gas. Pretty much all major categories now, like a wholesale, wholesalers and stuff like that, you're typically not gonna be getting a bonus category on that. If you go to like a BJ's or Costco or something like that, it's usually in a code as a wholesale club, and you can see there's ways to Google online. It's called like a reverse merchant look up. You can even see what category a certain vendor is going to code as on your credit card so you know if it's a bonus category or not, so that's pretty cool.

Ryan Cramer: Oh, that's cool.

Eli Facenda: Yeah. There's a lot of ways to optimize that. But most major categories that are on the personal side also exists on the business, and business actually has a couple more just because most individuals aren't spending that much on shipping or office supply storage, but businesses are. So, there are certain cards that want to incentivize you and reward you for spending on that.

Ryan Cramer: With that being said, you said offices and stuff like that, how has the industry effectively changed during a pandemic era? I would assume that it's maybe even harder to get credit or apply these same principles that you were talking about before the pandemic until like, even up to potentially right now. How has that shifted? And then, is there things that people need to look at coming out of this as effectively, like fixing something that they might have done in the past and make sure that they readjust and move towards the future?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. Great question. Initially, when COVID all first started, the big panic ensued like right away, things got really difficult for lending across the board. It didn't matter what type of lending it was. Banks were just restricted. There's a lot of uncertainty. That just increases risk by nature for banks, so that means they're going to be more restrictive with the lending. In terms of the points game, that didn't really change too much, but getting access to business credit and getting higher credit lines did. Because basically, banks can lend off of the assets that they have. They only have a certain amount of... They can't just make up as much credit lines as they want. There's a certain way that it works, so they only have a certain amount of credit they can really lend out. When the industry shifts and when the economy shifts and higher risk kind of ensues on these businesses, they get more restrictive. Now things have kind of shifted back, we're kind of in a better spot from that standpoint. Actually, a lot of the points cards, because people were, I mean, this is the belief around it, because people weren't traveling as much unless people were getting these rewards cards for a long period, all of these points programs came out of the woodwork with like crazy high bonuses. So, it's actually an incredible time from the points side to maximize those because there's like... They have all time high offers where the card normally earns you 60,000 points when you sign up, and now it's at like a hundred thousand points, or more sometimes. It's pretty cool to see how things have shifted. Overall, the same things are still going to apply. You have to have your credit, you have to know how business credit works with those items that we mentioned before. And not too much has shifted there, but initially, it was a big impact.

Ryan Cramer: When I'm doing all this right and I actually make my credit work for me, what's that look like? Walk me through a life of like Eli. I'm running a profitable business, I'm doing all these things, and you say, you can use it for perks and traveling. Is that upgrades receipts or is that as crazy as privatized travel or? What are these perks that we're talking about in terms of how you're able to take these principles, apply them to your own business model, and then move them forward and it not suck to be an entrepreneur? For lack of a better word.

Eli Facenda: Yeah, for sure. A couple things on that. Basically, if we talk about using points here, there's kind of two sides to it. We call it the earn side and the burn side. There's two aspects to earn, how much are you earning and what type of points are you earning? Because there's all these different points, and they're like currencies. You can use different points for different things. You want to get what's called transferable or flexible points. Those are the most valuable. Those are going to be bank points like Chase, Citi, American Express, Capital One. And the reason they're valuable is because you can use those and turn them into an airline mile when you need it, or turn them into a different hotel point when you need that. That flexibility helps you get better deals because you have more options and it just gives you a better ability to fly on the actual route that you want to fly on, rather than connecting maybe, something like that. That's on the earn side, and then how much you're getting has to do with the bonuses on the cards you're getting from everyday spending and the sign up bonuses. Those are the two primary ways to earn a lot. If you align the right cards in terms of what you're spending, you earn the right points for you, which can be kind of customed to everybody, but generally, you want those transferable ones, and then you use them effectively, meaning you redeem them well, then you're getting tons of free travel. This is why using points is so much more valuable than cashback if you're someone who travels. Because with cashback, there's a ceiling. You might get 2% cashback on purchases. Well, that means you got 2%, two pennies on every dollar. But if you get two points and then you can use those points for 4 cents a point, then you got 8% back on that purchase crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Yeah, you're using the math in your favor in that regard. Yeah, I know for a fact like, on credit cards, they will cap it. For example, like Discover, or anything like that, they'll give you like 5% up to$ 75 cash back. Again, that's a very simplistic principle for businesses. $ 75 is$ 75. It's not going to really make or break you in that regards. But for a personal like that, it might be an extra credit card or a night out, or whatever that might be, but for businesses, points equal travel or like hotels. So, making sure that the math, like what equates to what. Cashback is really cool and concept, I think personally, but then, like you said, points are almost like, the shift in cashback to points almost makes more sense to people. Is that what you really focus on for a business?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. I mean, individuals do this too, because you don't have to be a business owner to play the points game. A lot of people do it without a business, because still when you earn points personally and you can use them. If you like to travel, you're going to save a lot more. Because let's say you got a card and it give you $ 500 cash back and you could get a different card that's going to get you a certain number of points, and the cards are maybe equitable in terms of like the annual fee and everything, the same card and the same spend could give you$ 500 here or like three or 4, 000 here in travel. You see what I'm saying? That's the difference maker. Now, again, as a business owner, since you're spending more typically than a consumer, you rack up point it's faster, which means more travel. There's one aspect to this as well that I want to touch on, which is the tax implications. Because the way that typically works, let's say you're a business owner and you're going to take an epic vacation, it's$ 10,000. Family goes, it's a big blow up vacation, whatever it is. Usually, what happens is you're going to take distribution or you're going to take the income from your business. And then you're going to get tax on it and you're going to use that money to go buy the trip. Maybe put it on your credit card and then you pay that off. That's with after tax money. Let's say you're taxed at 20%. That cost of that trip isn't really$ 10,000. It's $10,000 plus the 20% you paid in taxes. The effective cost to you is really like$ 12,000. Now, if you use points, they're non- taxable. Whether you earn them from your business or whether you earn them personally, they're not taxable. If you use points to cover that trip, a$10, 000 trip, which is typically very doable for most business owners, now you don't have to take the$ 10,000 out of your business, which means you don't have to pay the$2, 000 in taxes. So, you get to basically save the additional$ 2, 000 on that trip from having used points. So, not only is the trip free, but now you get the savings on taxes too. It's pretty cool when you start to look at like, wow, if I add that up over how many times I'm going to be traveling for the next several years for personal vacations, that can be a lot.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, for a listener out there, to break it down even, if I'm understanding correctly, basically, instead of paying additional taxes because of like you said, your income just in general, like money in pocket, you're using points, but which isn't... Points, again, correct me if I'm wrong, are not like taxable entities. They're just like additional, doesn't matter if you're applying for personal use or professional use, right?

Eli Facenda: Correct.

Ryan Cramer: There's no stipulation, like you can have a business credit card, but you can't use it to buy your kid a, I don't know, new clothes or anything like that with the points, or whatever, or send them on their trip to go see grandma and grandpa. Points are just like this universal, almost like a weird currency where it's like, nothing can touch it, but it's like a made up currency right by these entities essentially. Just to use your zero solution. Using that, the math makes more sense to say, like in stead of 10 plus 2, 000, so it's$ 12, 000, or whatever the tax implication is. You're talking about like$ 8, 000 instead of 10, 000. You win more in that regard. I see where the math kind of works in that favor. That's really cool. What's kind of a crazy story, maybe personally, that you can share with our listener, or listeners, and say real world implications, like I started my business, I started making all these things work for me and then I was able to do X, Y, Z? What are some of these like goals, I guess, people could start actually setting for themselves knowing that they can make credit work for their business growth, but then also actually save money in the process?

Eli Facenda: Sure. Yeah. Well, a couple things. I'll talk a little bit on the travel side first. There's been a bunch of.... I mean, I've gotten, I haven't paid for a flight... I mean, paid for a couple, but I haven't paid for a flight without having a choice in a long time. There's sometimes where I'm like, I'll save my points for later because it'll get better value, and I'll just pay cash if you have it. But I haven't had to pay for a flight in like five or six years so that's been awesome already, but-

Ryan Cramer: If you heard me Huff, I am stewing over here. I'm just upset because like, this is something personally I would like to do too, but like your job is traveling almost. When you say five to six years, is that because you're traveling so much or what if I'm somebody who actually doesn't travel a lot? Can I still do the same thing and not pay for a flight every so often? I feel like you would rack up more points quicker so you're not able to do that. Does that make sense, Eli?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. That makes sense, but that's... It's actually not quite how it works. The way that I'm traveling is from points earned from credit cards. It's not really from points earned from flying. Because when you use point to travel, in most cases, you're not going to earn any. If you use United Airline points to book United flight, you're not accruing any points for that.

Ryan Cramer: Right. You're just spending, you're not actually accruing crosstalk.

Eli Facenda: Yeah. They don't give you points to be redeemed for that trip. Hotels work a little bit different in terms of like status, and status is different. So, that can help. But yeah, this is entirely based off of opening the right cards, maximizing points, maximizing bonuses, playing the game the right way, which doesn't really cost you anything really. And then accumulating the points and using them effectively for free travel. Yeah, I have been doing kind of the nomad thing for the last six months. So, I've been going kind of full- time travel from here. I was getting on average... I'm about to go move and sell down, but I've had about a week in a hotel per month for free. All my flights covered, most of them business or first class, getting lounge access along the way, not paying for bags, getting breakfast at hotels, free wifi, upgrades, stuff like that. It's funny because it becomes normal once you get into the game. But my favorite thing about it is having the ability to just say, let's take COVID out of the situation here. You're going to sit here and be like, do I want to go to Japan tomorrow? Yeah, I could go. If you have the flexibility of business, you could fly first class, you could have five nights in a hotel for free. You could have a $6, 000 trip you could go tomorrow. And if you have points, you don't have to worry about like, ah, the cost is too much. Personally, the whole reason I love this is because to me, it's just about freedom. You get more choices, you get more options. You don't have to feel that kind of restriction of being like, I don't want to spend the money. It doesn't make sense. I can't justify it. Well, with points, I mean, sure, you could always use the points later, but you can be like, man, this is cool. Let's go. I want to do it. And you can just pick up and go.

Ryan Cramer: Does loyalty come into play in this? Because I'm personally, like I'm coming at from my view point of... You have a couple credit cards that you pay off in full and they rack up every so often, or they rack up, and oh, that's nice, I can do this. But does loyalty have anything to do with either hotel status or flights? I think those would be the main two big ones that might be a factor.

Eli Facenda: Yeah, it does. Typically, you're going to get more value from not worrying about loyalty and just getting points with different programs than you are going to get value from being super loyal right off the bat. Now, if you travel a lot, then loyalty becomes a big factor. But for the average person who's not traveling much, it's not really that worth it to be like, oh, I only find Delta or only stay at Marriott, because if you're doing a few trips a year, you're not really going to get any status that's worth much sweet. You might get a water bottle when you check into the hotel. That's not that awesome. Yeah, but if you're traveling-

Ryan Cramer: crosstalk warm cookie. Yeah, I love those.

Eli Facenda: Exactly. Yeah. Got to love the double treat. They're great at that.

Ryan Cramer: That's right.

Eli Facenda: But if you're traveling a decent amount or if you travel a lot between the same places, then it makes sense to, specifically in the hotel side, status is much, I think, much more valuable, because it's easier to get... It's easier just to obtain that value with airlines a little bit lesser known. It's less common that you're going to get the upgrade or that kind of thing if you have status-

Ryan Cramer: It also depends on where you live too. You have to actually have flights that are operating near your entity, no matter in the world, wherever you live. If they don't have a direct flight from Indianapolis, which is where I live, to Japan, doesn't do me very good to hop on a flight to Japan. I'm going to still have to connect somewhere international. But if you're in Chicago, New York, LA, Miami, wherever those major cities are, it might be a little bit more feasible to think about in that regard. Let's like break it down. If I'm going to... Who are my go to? Who's offering the best perks rewards that I should like sign up today for if I'm listening to this?

Eli Facenda: Sure. Yeah. There's two ways to play the game, fully optimize it or get a card here or there and get some points. If you want to fully optimize it, the first question you should really ask before that is, what are my goals? What type of travel do I want to be doing? Is it about first class? Is it about international? Is it about getting really good hotel perks? And I'm a big family, I like to travel, or I fly this route all the time. If that's the goal, that's the case, then really you want to understand the game. You can go learn it yourself. If you want, you can talk to someone like myself that really help people do this because it simplifies everything. I took the hard route. I learned it all on my own. It just took a really long time because it can be complicated to take on all the information at first. But that's category one. Now, just the simple answer to that, category two, if you're just like, I just want a card, I don't really learn all this. I just want to get a little bit of benefits. Then you want to look at a couple different currently to date. There's a couple different awesome promotions. One is the Chase Sapphire Preferred is 100,000 point signup bonus, and the signup bonuses are where you're going to typically rake in the most points. Number two, the Citi Premier has an 80,000 point signup bonus, which both of those, if you use those points at their minimum, the Chase Card is worth, at a bare minimum for travel 1, 250. So, $ 1, 250, the annual fee is 95. Hat's right there. The Citi Premier at a base value bare minimum, if you use it as poorly as possible is worth$ 800. But if you use them well, that Chase Card could be worth$ 3, 000, $4,000, maybe $5, 000 or, and the premier card could be worth$ 2, 000, $ 3, 000, $4,000 or potentially more too. Those are the two of the top promotions right now. If you're a business owner and you have a lot of high expenses, again, you want to analyze because that's going to be custom to everybody, so it's really hard to give a blanket answer on that. You want to analyze what your needs are. The charge cards with AMEX are good. Now, these are different than credit cards because they don't have a limit. Basically they have, you have to pay it back in full each month, but if you have a store that has really high monthly cashflow and you need to scale, then you want to get charge cards because you can rack them up higher as long as you have the cash and liquidity to pay them down at the end of the month. That would be like the AMEX Gold and the AMEX Platinum. Those are a couple that I'll throw out. Again, if you have questions on this, reach out to me. There's people like myself, we have the ability to kind of consult you on this stuff. We also have affiliate links or referral links. I like to get other people points. So, if you're going to apply, that's another way to earn points through referrals. I'll take someone else's link and give it to you. And someone else applies, they take your link and give it to them, so now I'm earning you points. So, it's cool to have that crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: Everyone wins there. Yeah, I love that.

Eli Facenda: Yeah, exactly. It's a win- win.

Ryan Cramer: Let me get this. Do you have a, this might sound really stupid, do you have a black card? Is that a thing?

Eli Facenda: It is a thing. I don't have it. That's basically going to be based on the amount that you spend per year. Honestly though, the perks of it are you can get a lot of like awesome concierge stuff, but the annual fee is super high. I forget what it even is. I think it's a couple thousand dollars though.

Ryan Cramer: Right. It means like no limit, right? If I'm a person, I'm like, what's a black card? It means literally no credit limit. They just let you spend, but it's typically for super loyal or just really rich people, I would say, or really rich businesses.

Eli Facenda: You have to pay crosstalk, that's the ting. I don't want people to think like free spending, like you owe it. You owe it-

Ryan Cramer: Oh yeah. It's like, you actually owe it back, but it's just like, hey, put it on the card, and you still pay for it. Yeah, exactly.

Eli Facenda: crosstalk in a similar way, by the way. Those have a thing called spending power where it kind of warms up, but it doesn't have a firm limit. At a certain point where you just got the card and you haven't like spent a lot on it. At certain point, it's going to say like, okay, this is your limit for the month, but as you warm it up and you spend more, you'll have, like basically no official limit to crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: They'll give it for you because I've personally given... Yeah. They're just like, hey, by the way, your credit limit is, because you've been consisting great customer, hey, we're going to bump it up like 2, 500 bucks or$ 10,000, or whatever it might be, and then you can always request higher limits if you needed to. We talked about the best like personal... Those are personal. Even if I just, day- to- day, the Chase Sapphire, I've always heard like rumors about that. So, just signing up in general is good. It's$ 95 fee. Is that a turnoff for people? Do you think that's a barrier mentally? They're like, I have to pay an annual fee to use a credit card when I'm already spending money? Is that a big barrier for people, do you think?

Eli Facenda: It's a barrier if you don't understand the value. If you understand the value of you're trading$ 1, 200 for 95, so to me that's a pretty easy-

Ryan Cramer: Well, I'm saying, how do people not... Yeah, is that just a disconnect where people don't understand like the points and how it's worth signing up? Okay.

Eli Facenda: Exactly. People don't understand that and so they're like, ah, it doesn't seem worth it. A lot of cards don't earn that many points. If you don't use it over time, the annual fee will outpace the benefits you're getting. But there's all sorts of ways, after the first year you can downgrade the card. Because basically these cards are like, there's a bank, and then within the bank, there's like a family of cards. There's the Chase Sapphire cards. You can think of it like cards. There's the mid- tier, luxury and base version. If you don't like the fee, you can downgrade it. There's other cards where, like the Chase Sapphire preferred is the one that I mentioned 100,000 points for a $ 95 fee. There's the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which is like 60, 000 points. But it has, I think a 595 annual fee where right now. And that one, that one comes with a lot more perks. You get like all this lounge access and credit statement credits and stuff like that. So, you want to be able to basically know which card is the right entry level for you, but know that there's usually going to be options to downgrade. That gets you out of the paying that fee annually if you don't like it, but that is a bearing for a lot of people. So, the encouragement there is, look at the value you're getting from the card because a lot of cards take the points out of it. Just the perks alone. You should profit from holding that card if you can use it right. Because there's so many credits that come with these things, most people just don't use those effectively.

Ryan Cramer: And you can use that for personal or professional, right? You can use either of those or is one business only and one's not?

Eli Facenda: Yeah, no. Yeah, the cards are going to work similar. You think of like, yeah, it's... Basically, the perks and benefits might change in terms of what the benefit is, but the way that it works in terms of having credits, having annual fees, having perks and stuff like that, it's going to apply on both personal business cards, so it works across the board.

Ryan Cramer: Eli, my question to you, let's fire off a couple, like your favorite either loyalty programs or airlines that travel, because they offer either the most incentives perks easier to make life a little bit nicer for you because you're putting in the hard work. We talked about credit cards, like obviously it's not like loyal one to another. What about hotels? What's the best loyalty program crosstalk?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. Hyatt is the best of your using points typically. If you like to use a lot of points, Hyatt's going to get you the best value, best bang for your buck, almost inaudible. If you're traveling a lot to tons of different places, Marriott ends up being really good.

Ryan Cramer: Is that the Bonvoy? Yeah, the family of whatever, the Bonvoy collection of hotels now or whatever? They changed their name recently.

Eli Facenda: Yeah. That's a reward program. Exactly. That one's good. They have just so many hotels. There are some differences there. If you go to a lot of beachy places, then don't wanna go to Marriott because there's a thing called resort fees. If you use points, Marriott doesn't leave them, but Hyatt and Hilton will wave those if you book with points. If you're going to the Grand Hyatt in Kauai, for example, I think that's like$60, $ 70 a night in resort fees. If you booked with points, you're going to save that every night. So, over a week, could be a couple hundred dollars, but if you were at a Marriott version, a Marriott property there and they have the same resort fee, you're not going to be able get out of it no matter what. Hyatt typically is the one I suggest there. Then Marriott's my second favorite just because there's so many of them, the standards usually are pretty good. There are so many ways to earn easy Marriott points too.

Ryan Cramer: What about, I'm trying to think of other ways? I guess airline would be the next one. Is there ways to percolate through the perks through... Percolate through the perks. Man, look at me today. Easy way to earn points and the perks actually go farther or they're more nice than other ones that might be offered?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. Two levels here. There's like a really advanced level and then basic level. The advanced level is taking these transferable points and understanding who they partner with and being able to move them around because there's alliances within the airlines. For example, the United Airlines is part of the Star Alliance. American is part of the Oneworld Alliance and Delta is part of the Sky team. Now, they all have partners. So, you can book a United ticket with Avianca miles because Avianca is in the Star Alliance too, and you could turn your AMEX points and Avianca to book United. It can get complicated when you do that. But knowing how to do that kind of stuff is really where you get like the crazy, crazy value, where it's just like ridiculous. That I mean-

Ryan Cramer: I need a spreadsheet for that.

Eli Facenda: Yeah. You need to know what you're doing or just research it to be able to maximize that, but the basic version, I mean you just get points on a specific card and you fly out that airline. That's going to depend a lot on your hub. A couple good options. If you are someone that travels with a spouse or significant other or someone else, the Southwest companion perks could be a really good option, because the way that works is you get one person that flies free with you for the duration of the year that you get it and then the entire next year. If you fly a lot with a spouse, you guys might be getting two free seats... Or sorry, one free seat on every flight you go on for almost two years, if you do it right. There's ways to do that. Then secondly, I typically like American Airlines for flying domestically. If you're going to go down just a specific airline route, I just find they have the easiest cards to earn a lot of points with. They have a good amount of cards, and they tend to have a lot of really good routes and the redemption levels in terms of the number of points required to book with them are pretty good compared to the other major ones, Delta or United. My favorite domestic airline though is JetBlue. They just don't have a ton of good routes. If you wanna get like the best domestic first class-

Ryan Cramer: It's all east coast, right? It's almost like all east coast.

Eli Facenda: Yeah. They do some transcontinental flights, but the hubs are mostly yeah, east coast. I think there's Salt Lake out there too. But yeah, it's not-

Ryan Cramer: crosstalk Salt Lake.

Eli Facenda: Yeah. They're starting to do a little bit more internationally and everything like that, but JetBlue's great. I really like them. They don't have a ton of ways to earn points, but they're definitely one of my favorites to fly.

Ryan Cramer: Very nice. Internationally, if you're not domestic, because I'm not sure where you're operating out of technically, where am I going internationally out of the United States, is it, if I'm going to China or if I'm going to other international hubs to visit my supplier manufacturer, like my teams are going business travel to Europe, what's the best way to help you internationally in that regards?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. Well, so first off, a lot of times, especially if you're flying premium, which if you're flying that far, it's such a difference to get a lay flatbed and get the lounge before and champagne and have warm cloth. That old thing is, to me, that's a big difference crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: Tell me more. I was going to say, I've never been a part of this perks, so tell me more about it. It sounds nice.

Eli Facenda: When you do that and you're like, wow, that was free. I mean, that's what got me hooked. The first time I ever really got in the points game. I took a trip to Thailand with friends, which was cool. It was an economy trip and this was like years ago. Then a few years later, I flew to London for a conference in business class, and I got on the plane, and I would say like I turned left and then I never wanted to turn right because you get on, you go to that first class section where it's like lay flat beds, and I was like, this is amazing.

Ryan Cramer: It's why do they do it. That's why you have to go through that front. It's almost like going to the back to the sales section, and they take you through the premium section. You're like, ah, this is what I really want.

Eli Facenda: Yeah, exactly. Just angry walking through. But on the bigger planes, usually walking kind of in the middle, and you're going to, like the first class is usually left so you don't even see it, because it's like private and then you go to the right, the bigger international planes. But a couple things with the international flights. Most international carriers, specifically like some of the major European ones or the major Asian ones are better than, like a better experience than US domestic ones. Just like the service is nicer, it's more luxurious stuff like that. Some of the Middle Eastern ones, I mean there's the Emirates A380 is like this iconic flight in the points nerd world. There's a shower in the sky. You get a champagne bar up there. It's ridiculous. I mean, in that ticket is going to cost$ 20,000, $25,000 sometimes if you're going to fly that, and that's going to be from like New York to Dubai, stuff like that. There's ways to do that. That's a little bit like extravagant luxury, which is not very practical, but if you're like, I want to go to China. Yeah, you want to understand, well, where are you coming from? But look at the different top airlines that are flying these international routes and just research a couple of top ones. I mean, Singapore Air is really good. Qantas is really good. ANA, which is a Japanese airline is really good. Those will all get you there. Cathay Pacific is a really good one, and they fly a lot into China. So, it just depends on where you're coming from, but there's so many amazing options. Yeah, it's honestly hard to pick. There's just so many good ones.

Ryan Cramer: What's the greatest perk that you've ever received, as we wrap up this episode, that people can like, are you serious? That's a thing? Is there anything that's mind blowing to you that it happened?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. I mean, I got a pretty ridiculous deal a couple years back. Now, after I compare it to this Emirates, $25, 000 flight, it's not going to sound that cool, but it was pretty awesome. I was flying from Tokyo to Copenhagen actually, and I was with a tour group that we were running, and I had to book last minute because there was a lot of things changing. The retail ticket cost for this trip was like$7, 800, and it cost me$ 50. I booked two days out, I got to fly first class, get all the awesome lounge experience, flying out Lufthansa. So, it's like the German airline. They have all the German beers and great service, and it's on the upper deck of the plane. That was just like... I was like, I can't believe I'm paying$ 60 for this. Whatever it was. It was like, it was ridiculous. That was a really fun one. I've had a few similar to that, but that was the one that for me most recently stands out as just being last minute, being able to go like that and not have to pay for it was just so much more fun.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Maybe Eli, that's amazing, and I think a lot of people are like, I really do want to travel, and I think that people got that itch still and it's still happening. I know a lot of things are uncertain. Give me your perspective, you're technically in the travel industry, but helping people move around, what's it right now in terms like for you, is it frustrating still? Is it very like scary? Does it feel more comfortable to you? I know you do it so much, but from your eyes, what's it like right now?

Eli Facenda: Yeah. Great question. So, there's a couple things to that. The first thing is, when it comes to thinking about points, don't wait until you want to book a trip to think about points because it's way too late. Think about how the process works. You're going to get a card. They're going to give you 90 days to hit a signup bonus, right? Then you're going to earn the points, so we're talking about, depending on how much you spend, it might take 90 to 110 days, 120 days to earn the points on a card, and you may have multiple cards, but then you need to book it, right? You don't want to book a week before because usually there's less availability or it's more expensive, whatever. So, you want to book a little bit further out. Even if you want to travel in spring or the summer next year, now is a great time to start amassing as many points as you can. Because one of the most common things I hear, people come to me, and is like, " I got this flight next week. The tickets are crazy pricey. I want to use my points. What can I do?" And I'm like, " Okay, what points do you have?" And they'll be like, " I have like 20, 000 here." I'm like, " Well, that's not going to get us very far." You need to have asked this like months ago. Save, save yourself that issue, think about it in advance, but to answer your other question about like, how is travel now? It honestly varies so much... It's just by person right now, because some people are really cautious still. They don't want to travel. They're concerned. And they're like, I'm not traveling. I don't want to do this. Some people are like, you know what? I'm going. So, it's really varying. It's kind of crazy to see the different response. There's no uniform answer to that because some people are traveling more and doing the whole nomad thing and just going bonkers having a blast. And some people are really, really just saving their travel for a later time, which either way is totally fine by me. It's just I'm seeing crazy differences in preference right now.

Ryan Cramer: Right. I mean, I agree with you. I think a lot of people would just like, for one degree or another, safety is the biggest component. We saw this after so many different major mile markers in history of... You saw, I hate to say it like it's like 9/ 11, you saw a lot of people not travel, and then all of a sudden, people became comfortable with it again. You start to see those barriers mentally or physically have to overcome for each person. But I know there's different things. People feel safer now even on an airline than before, because they have to go through strenuous health regulations and stuff like that. It almost feels like more safe in this regards to travel now from what I've heard than other people. With that being said, what are you working on? What's kind of the future like for you, your team, like the industry? What are you excited about moving forward?

Eli Facenda: Yeah, I mean, I'm really excited to just have more people living these awesome experiences that we dream up a lot of times. I just think about you really dig into the why that you might get into business. A lot of times it's impact, it's freedom, it's kind of being your own boss. But that for me, one of my biggest, just core values is adventure. I just love like the spontaneity travel. My favorite thing is providing that experience to other people, whether it's in person with our tour company that we have or taking people overseas and like showing them the world or just providing someone an amazing travel experience they might not have had otherwise or more luxurious experience than they've ever had. I think are just so valuable. They're so much more valuable than buying things. To me, that's what motivates me, so just continuing to help people that are kind of aligned with that, see more of the world, do it more in a better fashion and just having fun doing it. At the end of the day, I look at this whole points and credit thing as like a gift. It's pretty cool and it's funny because when you really get into like the points nerd community here, you hear a lot of complainers sometimes about like, I can't believe this airline did this. They changed my valuation of these points to this and this. It's like, you're getting free flights.

Ryan Cramer: You're still going for free.

Eli Facenda: It's still free. It's amazing. I mean, it's like such a cool system that it even exists, and it really only exists mainly in the US unfortunately. I mean, some international countries can get access to AMEX cards and there's some points in European countries and stuff like that, but it's not quite... Well, it's not remotely close to the same that is here. Canada is a close second, but the US is like the gold mine for this. I'm just excited to continue to play that game and help people grow their business using business credit stuff we talked about, getting tons of free travel and just getting them further along on their path as an entrepreneur and have more fun.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Well, and now you even hear the simplistic nature of like, I'll put like a quick little recap is, not only is this giving you a little bit more luxury, but also is freeing up a lot more time, money and resources that you might not otherwise have. Whether that be like growing faster, just being able to like get on a plane last minute to go meet a client, and do it without any sort of compensation repercussion, or compensation repercussions like$2, 000 to go across country to meet with a client. I can just throw on my points and I get on there and it's free, but might save me business long- term, or I can go see my supplier more often than I need to. Again, this is all in bubbles of each individual people and situations. I think that's what's so fascinating about this industry is like people look at it, just like they look in the finance world, look at it and are like, oh, that's too hard to think about or learn about or to overcome. Then they just kind of back away and they just work with what's comfortable. I know I need to do a better job. I'm sure like you, for you're like, hey, maybe I'm going to just go for it and just really put my foot to the pedal and understand this industry and really start making it work for me. I think that's what entrepreneurship is about. I think that's really cool what you're doing for your business and then helping other people grow too. Eli, if people want to reach out to you or just connect, is it Instagram that's the best way? What's the best way to do that?

Eli Facenda: Yeah, 100%. Yeah, Instagram is definitely the best way. It's one the most active and sharing the most just tips insights as I've been traveling the last several years, I'm sharing kind of the how to behind the scenes of like, hey, here's how I'm running the points, here's how I'm traveling, here's the hotel, here's the room tour, here's the flight. All that stuff. So, you can tag along with that, ask any questions. If you got questions about certain cards that you should get or really wanting to optimize this, definitely reach out to me. I can fill you in on what you may be missing on or leaving on the table if it's still unclear from that regard. I've got a fun kind of, actually have like a calculator that I help people understand is, hey, if you're spending this much, based on how much you're spending, you could probably be getting this much in travel. It's fun to break that down. But Instagram is definitely the best, elitravelguy. Yeah, I would love to connect with anybody here and talk travel, talk credit and have some fun.

Ryan Cramer: All the fun stuff we want to always talk about right, is the travel component. I know I have an Italy trip that's just on hold until... We're waiting to give that back. It's just sitting there. It's all paid for. We're just waiting, but that's me personally. I know lots of people are excited about all the different places they can travel internationally or domestically. It can work for you in this regard. So, I'm excited. Thanks for hopping on, man. This is really exciting that we got to connect and share some insights from you and your team, and I'll be following along, and I'm sure I'll send a message two like, hey, what about this? I appreciate your time, Eli, and I put the link to your website too, also, in the comments and show notes. So, if you're interested in that, guys, make sure you check it out to leverage your travel and business credit to leverage your travel and business growth. So, thank you so much for rapping on today.

Eli Facenda: Awesome. Thanks Ryan. I appreciate it. And thanks crosstalk platform to help share this.

Ryan Cramer: Of course. Thanks Eli. Awesome. Thank you, everyone. Again. This is episode 136 of Crossover Commerce. This is my corner of the internet where I help you, the entrepreneur, grow your Amazon e- commerce business. This is a little bit outside of our realm of making sure that when you do travel and when there's business and money involved, certain aspects, you can really make it work towards your business and make things a little bit easier. Again, alleviating some time constraints, money constraints, and making it a little bit nicer to either travel or just work and network with people. The entrepreneur life doesn't have to be all hard work and grow and know no relaxation. You can actually enjoy those things along the way by doing some of those tips and resources using those resources that Eli had mentioned earlier in the episode. So, thanks for tuning into this episode of Crossover Commerce. We'll catch you guys next time and next week when we have more content on Crossover Commerce. Take care.

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Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Eli Facenda of Freedom Travel Systems about how to leverage credit for free travel and business growth.

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Today's Host

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🎙 Ryan Cramer - Host

|Partnership & Influencer Marketing Manager

Today's Guests

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Eli Facenda

|Founder of Freedom Travel Systems