How to save money abroad and at home – free Miles, free food, super cheap Taxis, etc

Read this to the end for the ultimate free Miles hack.

15% commissions at ATMs, really??
30% commissions at cash exchanges??

Are you tired of these levels of extortion? I am!
So here are a few tips i have come across out of sheer necessity! Yesterday i needed to get some cash out with a foreign card and the ATM wanted 15%. That was was going to add up to an abusive 45€ for 300€, ie you spend 300€ and receive only 255 € in cash! I said **** that & went home to figure out a better way. And i found it! Here it is.

If you are planning to go abroad, or are already abroad, find online banks that work on your mobile and that support bank accounts in various currencies. Two examples of that in the Czech Republic are Revolut and Air Bank. Beware Air Bank’s app is only in Czech, and also it seems that conversion rates with Revolut are WAY better than they are on Air Bank (EUR to CZK or vice versa).
Installing these takes a few minutes, is free, and will get you a free bank account. Air Bank will require a visit to the branch. So i highly recommend Revolut. Full disclosure, the link is an affiliate link, ie if you sign up & use their services i might receive something, however i wouldn’t recommend them if i wasn’t using them myself and if i wasn’t honestly convinced it was a good option. There may be better options out there, i’m just sharing my experience. Same goes for any other links here.

So yesterday, here in Prague, Czech Republic, i gave up on my cash withdrawal from my French card when i saw the immensity of the fees. Instead, i went into Revolut, where i have a CZK account AND a EUR account (and i have one in USD and i could instantly add one in any other currency, for free). So i went into my EUR Revolut account and asked to top it up from a card (it’s amazing you can do that). Simply add a card, in this case a French VISA from a EUR account, and the amount you specify gets credited instantly to your account. 300 € left my FR account and 300 € arrived on my Revolut account, within a few seconds. No fees whatsoever.

In order to withdraw, go into the EUR account and choose ‘exchange’, and convert the EUR into CZK. The commission? 3 € ! 1% instead of 15% at the ATM !
I was then able to transfer the CZK for free to my landlord’s Czech account, or i could have withdrawn cash at the ATM for free, and deposited it to her CZ account.

If you go outside of the EU, simply create an account in the currency you require. USD, GBP, JPY, etc.

If you want to save money whilst traveling, here is something i do : i use an Air France / KLM American Express. This Gold card isn’t cheap, it’s around 170 € per year, however, they have brought out a Blue card that is FREE FOR LIFE, and gives you 50 € back shortly after joining, plus a cashback on everything you spend. You also get 22000 Miles for free, which is pretty good, and the first year for FREE! In other words, you can get free Miles, free 3 month payments, 170€ off, and other advantages, for 1 year, and then just cancel if you like.

The advantages of the Gold card have really saved my a** sometimes : you pay 1 month later, and you can spread the cost of plane tickets over 3 months at 0% interest. That has really saved me many times when i needed to travel for work but couldn’t afford it. I never paid a single cent in fees or interest, AND the best thing is that every spent € is a free Mile, sometimes you even get more than that. Finally, the cherry on the cake is that this card gives you 30 free XP with the best airline loyalty program on the planet, Flying Blue. You only need 100 XP to get to the first level (free suitcase on every flight), and you can make 20 XP on a cheap short EU flight. So reaching 100 XP is very easy, especially if you fly once across the Atlantic.
The result is that i quickly reached Gold (level 2 of 3), which gives me 1 free suitcase per flight, a massive advantage, saving me up to 150 € per flight. I also get priority check-in, priority boarding, and free access to the Business lounge at every connection, meaning free drinks & free food, and sometimes the opportunity for a shower. None of this would have been attained without my Air France / KLM Amex card.

Note that you can use other airlines, you just need to buy the ticket on the Air France / KLM websites. That covers quite a few airlines, such as Czech Airlines, Aero Mexico, Delta, and many others.

Every month i accumulate free Miles thanks to my Amex card. And it also works with PayPal & other services, such as food delivery apps like Wolt, so i make Miles on the food i order, and on the online PayPal purchases too.

Another way to save a lot abroad is to install 2 or 3 competing taxi service apps, and to compare trip fares. I use Bolt and Uber, here in Prague, and what happens is that because you use them less often, they give you promo codes to encourage you to use the app more often. The result is that i often get discounts, sometimes big ones, like 40% off, and i can compare prices, sometimes saving me up to 50%.

Finally, if you want free food, register for all the food delivery services, such as Uber Eats, Wolt, Bolt Food, and wait. Don’t use the service, just wait. Sure enough, you will receive the most outrageous promotional offers. Check this out : Uber Eats in France sent me promos for 2x 12 € off, i didn’t use it, so they kept adding more on. The most they sent me was 10×10€ off ! Imagine, 100 € of free food!

If you know of other tips, please write a comment so we can all benefit.

Thank you
Yann

P.S. Oh, that ‘ultimate free Miles hack’, i almost forgot. You are not going to believe this. I invented this one myself, it works, and it’s free. It gives you FREE MILES without buying anything, instantly.

Here is what you need :

  • An Air France Amex
  • A PayPal account
  • 2 people, or two cards and two PayPal accounts.
  • No funds required, everything is advanced to you by American Express at no charge to you.

    Follow these steps :
  • When you get an Air France / KLM Amex, you can link it to your PayPal, as i mentioned above. This money will be charged to you up to 1 month later.
  • Your friend with an Air France Amex card also sets it up to use his PayPal account.
  • You send money to your friend via PayPal, for free, instantly.
  • This generates FREE MILES for you.
  • Your friend sends you back the same amount.
  • This generates FREE MILES for your friend.
  • Everything you send comes back to your bank account, at no cost.
  • At the end of the month, everything you ping-ponged back has generated Miles for you, AND for your friend.
  • Basically you are generated 2x the Miles of the amount that you send to your friend.
  • It’s a win-win for you and your friend, and, yes, it really works.

Enjoy ! 🙂

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