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Lesson 22 of 32

The Secret World of Airline Lounges

Chris Guillebeau, Stephanie Zito

Make Your Dream Trip a Reality

Chris Guillebeau, Stephanie Zito

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Lesson Info

22. The Secret World of Airline Lounges

Lesson Info

The Secret World of Airline Lounges

This is less than twenty one appropriately called the secret world of airline lounges. We don't even need any black hats for this. Um, this is something that everyone could take advantage of, and we're going to show you all about it all week this time we're talking about upgrading your dream trip up, reading your experience, looking at that dream destination that you first identified and then saying, ok, what else can we do with it? How can we play without a little bit and gonna have a great flight? Gonna have a great hotel have a lot of great experiences on the ground that's actually coming up next week, but today we want to talk about this secret world of airline lounges. So are three goals explore what's behind that secret door not always a secret door is usually a sign on it, but still, uh, turn lounge visits into destinations get into any lounge any time. Awesome. So before I begin this lesson, we had a great question at the end of the previous lesson, actually, from lin, we're ta...

lking about all these hidden redemptions. All these fun things you can take advantage of, we mentioned the chauffeur service that you can get on an etsy had flight, you fly to abu dhabi in first or business class, even when it's booked in miles like I've always done uh, this chauffeur will actually take you anywhere in the country you want, which could be up to two hours away and dubai or somewhere else. She asked if there is a cost for that. So he's actually not a cost for that. So all of the things that we're talking about unless we specifically mentioned it, there is no cost, so just keep that in mind great experience which can be had for free or nearly free s so why should you care about lounges? Here's a picture that might illustrate it? I forget which airport this was in, but many of us have actually had experiences like this, where travel has not been amazing and awesome. It's actually kind of been stressful and difficult, and one of the things that can bring a lot of peace or ease, or sometimes even joy to the travel experience is being able to kind of hide away and just recover a bit in a lounge before you continue. No, not all lounges are created equal is kind of just mentioned before we started. In fact, a lounge experiences may vary quite a bit, actually this lounge I went to indo ha ha! I don't have a lot of great pictures because I was too busy enjoying the lounge, but this lines I went to indo had a jacuzzi and all the cart menu service a spa all kinds of stuff again all free you know once I had access to the loans like there's no way to pay for anything there that was pretty cool then I was flying delta recently and I went to the jfk terminal and they had free caramel popcorn and I was like okay it's fine I can like I can like caramel blocked and that's all right you know s o chase jarvis who co founded creative live you know he had this project about how the one camera are the camera how does that how do you put it? Get the camera you have the best camera is the one that's with you the best camera is the one that's with you thank you so much I always think the best lounge is the one you're years so maybe there's not a jacuzzi you know in the delta sky team terminal but at least there's something could still be a good experience our friends at alaska airlines you might recognize this scott the boardroom has a pancake machine so this is a domestic lounge that's kind of pretty basic but I always actually look forward to even though it's a silly thing I was looking forward to flying out of portland, oregon or seattle or vancouver uh in the morning and experiencing the freshly baked pancakes right press the button and the pancakes come out there's no charge for that either just a fun experience on the other side of the spectrum in hong kong the wing cathay pacific's flagship lounge which we'll talk about again in a moment it is a totally ala carte restaurant everything's included lots of nice wines everything is to a very high standard so there's a variety of different lounges around the world on we'll talk about how to access them we'll talk about a couple of our favorites but before we do that we're super excited to talk to two really good friends of ours marvin and josephine who have actually been traveling full time I believe since twenty eleven they'll tell us a little bit about it and they've been using travel hacking miles and points I have a lot of amazing experiences so happy to welcome them or you guys there marvin and josephine oh wait what's up created life I don't know if you can see them all but the audience is copping for you there super excited thank you for taking time to talk to us um I've known you for a long time I know you've known stephanie for a long time but for those who don't know you can you just tell us why and how you got started travel hacking tell us a few places you've been a few experiences you've had s oh yeah we got started travel hacking actually uh stumbling upon your blood chris a second twenty way found your blood, and we were fascinated by your vehicle of seeing every country in the world and slowly but surely over a span of a few months, we realized our own dream of traveling the world together was actually much closer within reach than we thought. And so we adam yeah, and you had studied the the materials and you a super excited to learn more about it, and we just started to make a plan or strategy so that we could go ahead and so that we could go ahead and reach the dream. And so when you guys started, you weren't already traveling. You are still in in california working, right? Right. So wait, we had on ly left the united states together once and coincidentally, it was on miles it was on. Yeah, they were coach tickets, sixty thousand united united airlines, my list plus miles, which I had amassed over eight years of business travel. So mostly you were starting out as apprentice travel hackers and because you knew a little bit you had been earning some miles and you guys tweeted us after the week of after the lesson number two and told us that you guys would be rockstar backpackers now is that right? Exactly I love that rockstar at how did you make the transition from earning sixty thousand united miles over eight years of business travel and only traveling once to traveling full time you know, since twenty eleven often using miles and points like how did that so you learn a little bit about the strategies and what did you do next? Uh so I actually followed followed your blood quite closely I joined the travel hacking cartel that was actually one of the, uh earliest members and you a super excited when he did join up with the cartel yeah uh basically as an apprentice I didn't try to over analyze everything. I just did my best to collect as many miles and points in whatever programs were having promotions at the time as I figured uh we had this big dream we're going to travel just collect the points now that you're out howto how to spend them later. And so over the span of about sixty eight months we combined we accumulated about seven hundred thousand miles and points yeah, that was that there was that one meeting we had at the world domination summit and yeah remember yeah going around the room that's right? Seven hundred thousand pounds that's a big number so how did you guys make the transition from just getting these points and then into recognizing that we're talking a lot about upgrades and style and lounges this week how did you guys make that transition into just using your miles to go somewhere to actually recognizing that you could do some of this upgraded trouble, right? Right. So when we decided back in twenty eleven to become, uh long term travelers, we realize that we have all the time in the world. So time was on our side so we could actually travel more adventurously and so that meant that way we could take trains, ferry boats, you know, on all manner of flexible transportation that said yes, I mean it's not always a rh travel a so far our travel mug so it's a combination where it could be hostiles run hotels with points, but even the hardiest of adventurer appreciate some rest and relaxation and so much like when we used to run a lot of marathons. Yeah it's when we're it's kind of like seymour teo running marathons where you have a highly regimented training and diet and at the end of it all you get teo, you get to splurge and really treat yourself so as one term travelers be trying to stretch a budget and then whenever we travel intercontinental e or we decide we want to splurge it on like a nice hotel in london or in paris that's when we dive into the points and really treat ourselves to a nice let me answer the question is a fantastic so you guys you stretch a lot of your your miles and your money by staying in like lower accommodation and using budget airlines and stuff and buses and stuff when you're traveling around but when you have the opportunities and travel intercontinental e across those oceans you're using that's when you're flying on your fancy business class and when you're visiting the lounge is probably can you tell us we're talking a lot about lounges today can you tell us a little bit about some of your favorite lounge experiences right so I think the most memorable lounge visit for us was actually the thai airways first class lounge in bangkok thanks for that just a quick run through of how that goes for anyone who aspires to experience that right after chicken you actually get a person who ushers you over teo dedicated security life and then and then you go ahead teo you go ahead to the the scary lining there's actually no line are the line that everyone for you so that's dedicated just for a premium class passengers and so you get your passport stamped and running why should get the ipad so you go ahead and get your customized menu item and you can go ahead and order right uh oh yeah after you get through the line you at the bottom of the escalator there's actually a motorized car waiting for you to deliver you to the first class lounge, I mean it's only a hundred yards, but just like you have to take it anyway, even if it was just right across the room, he would want to take the card. Exactly. It's actually a godsend. You're just coming off of ah long walking tour around bangkok. It's it's nice and in the massage, too, right? So you get getting the lounge and the first thing they ask you, would you like to? But your father isn't with massage and maybe a shower, and you you want to book that right away because obviously, that kind of a perk sells out pretty quickly, although it's free, but everyone right way gets booked up, so one question that we get a lot from people who are traveling as a couple or people shopping as a family, they have a hard time finding awards from more than one person, but you guys have obviously been able to do that flying tie, first class and lots of other airlines in business and first class. So so how have you been able to book premium awards for two people? Have you run into challenges? And if you have, how did you overcome those right? So the classic way of trying to get the spaces to book out this far in advance as possible everyone knows that, like six months or more you stand a better chance that said, we have found that there quite a few terrors that will actually block off the first class space on it won't open up until maybe two or three weeks away from departure time. S so obviously, that kind of makes it a little bit hard to plan, but one strategy we'd used is to actually book business class um, that way we lock in the flight and they're they're usually really good about upgrading you up into first at no cost other than the difference and miles, so we'll just monitor to fly and check back in about two or three weeks out, and if two seats open up way, go ahead and call it in, and we get in the first class great strategy, I think I understand that, but just so the audience gets it. You actually you find the awards in business class, you go ahead and book those you keep hoping that the award for first is going to open you keep an eye on that availability. Is that right? Exactly right that's awesome. Awesome! So where you guys off to next? So we just actually wrapped up six week run from the uk down into france, and then we met my mom in france. She flew in on delta business class wearing a tour of paris but you did make her stay at a hostel too so you guys were definite backpackers we did really regain regain over the rock star bad hacker treatment that on dh so yeah um we front after paris we went to florence and rome italy and then we the two of us went onward teo istanbul and israel so that just ended last week and we're back here in the states teo catch our breath on dh now it's a matter of after the summer's over deciding whether we were goingto go back to asia or maybe bag another continent and head down to south america we're still deciding you got you guys inspired me so much I really appreciate everything you do thanks so much for taking the time to come on I would love to know for all the audience who has questions for you want's to follow your journey what's the best way for them to do that s o you khun follow us over on over at our blogger intrepid motion dot com we're also on twitter at intrepid motion and we also have a facebook page I think that's right? I'm noticing anything we will tell everybody are you raising your hand can do you have something I just wanted to check and see if anybody in our studio audience had had any questions by the way I love both of your smiles are incredible just make me happy any studio questions for marvin and josephine I think joon here from seattle has a question you say you're back in the states do you keep an apartment or some kind of nest in one place on earth or are you actually completely location free? Actually we're completely location of religion it for family we've got family on both coasts of the united states so this year as it is we're here back in california and last year we were actually in virginia and new jersey so whenever we manage to make it back to the states it's actually a great opportunity to catch up with our families casey question question uh uh so how was the massage? I gotta aks oh it's amazing if you if you're in business class you got a thirty minute neck and back massage and if your first then you get an hour that you have an hour and it's a full body massage and of our treatment and for business travelers really great as far as you get the wife I have your business centers and it's just the excellent customer service all around, right? Right? Yeah, the massages are definitely appreciate that we learned that from stephanie I spent too much time in bangkok airport to casey was saying before that he's out of this to his bucket list stuff you have a question over here, kendrick lamar. Well, my question is, when you guys live that lifestyle, do you guys still work or eyes it's just purely travel or a little bit of freelancing along the way? The first year we start traveling, I was actually running a coaching business online that was a coaching endurance, sports triathlon, marathon training, and then the following year, I had gone ahead and pick some consulting projects, and so it's been kind of like a working holiday, so teo, but travelling this way has definitely been a lot of work, so there's a lot of time involved that we do enjoy, and so the past year, we've been focusing on writing and may be trying to earn some affiliate income and just being actually just wrapped up a mini, uh, guy self guided, uh, safari guide for south africa, which will be publishing shortly, marvin and justifying thank you guys so much you inspired me. Thank you. Awesome is not fun. I love those guys know that in case you didn't get it intrepid motion motion, right? We're going to crash their website was going, but this is kind of fun. This is a fun, a photo of them actually flying entire ways, first class, what is the story that they were? They were just telling tire weighs a star alliance in case you guys don't remember that for good good point star alliance you know, points can be used from united from air plan lots of other carriers neither is the other just great pictures they sent I said can you send us some pictures of some of your lounge experience and this is uh this bottom one and the right is the thai airways lounge. This one on the left is one of the lounges in hong kong in business class and then the two top ones are just some first class plaids and one of the things I like about first class flights is a lot of times they serve ice cream sundaes that amazing something kind of like the pancake machine it's like maybe it shouldn't be that exciting but it is you know, it's really good so we're gonna talk about the time we have left how to get into lounges but just teo give me a couple of highlights what we've been talking about we keep mentioning the wing cathay pacific this is in hong kong you know access through one world alliance american airlines partner last caroline's also a partner. Lots of other partners british airways a vo ce quantas lots of partners for that domestic wise we talked a little bit about the american express platinum card in a previous visit american express has started launching its own siri's of lounge is mostly in the united states they're actually trying to compete with some of the existing launches which aren't so great they have the caramel popcorn and not much else so american express eyes putting out putting out lounges that included spa treatments that includes a nice buffet custom cocktails are truly relaxing space so those air in a few hours and sometimes some showers that's right so those air in dallas las vegas san francisco laguardia couple other locations are coming soon including seattle that's the shower he just told you about our rights s so maybe now you see why to allude to the story we told a few lessons ago maybe you see like why this guy wanted to spend every day in a lounge this is a story from someone in china who spent three hundred days in a row in an airline lounge without actually traveling on probably not just for the pancakes. Okay, so let's talk about getting in most important question how does this work? We've talked about all these different lounges. How do you actually get into one of them besides sneaking in easiest way to ensure you're going be guaranteed to get into a lounge just have a ticket that gets you into the lounge and like we said, most business or first class tickets on an international carrier will get you into a new airline into the airline lounge of either that airline or that airlines alliance, including award tickets it's important to say sometimes it takes most people think that award tickets they're kind of like a second class tickets or something, but they're really not work tickets have the same privileges of any ticket that's paid for, uh, credit cards. They're also a great option, as we've talked about throughout the course. We did talk briefly about the american express platinum american express platinum also includes priority pass access. I think we have a separate side about that coming up, but you actually your card with you here I have brought my lounge accessible cars, so priority passes a global network of independent lounges, and they actually partner with some branded siri's of lounges as well. But there's hundreds, probably thousands, actually seven hundred there's a lot of lounge is all over the world. Do you have your priorities passed from your so this is a free, but you still think this is just so you can pay for priority pass a few hundred dollars a year or if you have the american express platinum card, then you're eligible for priority past select, which is almost almost a cz good this is the only one I have and it's actually valid all over the world, so that's great uh, do you have the city aadvantage card? That's great! So this card from american airlines city advantage reserve allows you access to u s and international admirals club as well as thie, alaska boardroom and just kind of asked in the last lesson when you're flying, when you have a ticket on an american, a domestic u s carrier in business or first class, that doesn't automatically give you access to the lounge because most clubs, most airline clubs or lounges in the state sell memberships. And so if you don't have even with elite status, you can't get in without a membership. So some of these credit cards give you membership into those clubs. That was a very rookie move, no it's a common mistake, that's a mistake because anywhere else in the world, yeah, it would have been fine. So it's, just one factor and there's actually a little bit of an advanced taxes, not even black hat it's just something for our international audience in particular, if you have the elite status on american carrier, you can't get into those lunches, but if you release status is from a partner in the same alliance outside of the states, like if you're trying to get into the admiral's club and you have british airways status than you can actually do that. So it's just us carriers that are excluded which is an important thing to keep in mind tomorrow when we talk about status right? Right because you don't have to be from the uk to work on british airways status you can you can earn status from anywhere in the world from wherever you are a couple other ones united mileageplus explorer car too the mileage plus club card which gets you into the any united lounge a membership for a year on and then there's the explorer card which gives you two passes for you I think the fee is higher on the one hand this one's higher, but they usually they often run a deal at chase in the bank where you can apply online if you apply online you have to pay the fee but if you go into a chase bank you can get it free for a year and that's great you just get this card for a year and it's four hundred dollars in your back to stand united club for a year I had access for a year and then I cancelled it right before that membership came down so free long, dark history you're basically canceled before it's up if you're not using it global delta sky club that's a delta skymiles reserve I actually have this card to that provides access to prime a pump for all the caramel popcorn you could ever want uh and there are some more of course have friends in canada we thought about this too american express probably kendrick probably has seven of these three cards you know their cars for that that allowed access to the air canada clubs a zealous some other lounges he could probably teach that lesson more than me priority past we talked about so as I said you can purchase priority pass or you actually can receive it as a benefit for some other things already pass is great if your travel if you're traveling really widely if you're if you're not always travelling on alliances if you travel on budget airlines that's the great thing about priority pass it has nothing to do with the airline you're flying, so if you have a priority get past membership and you go up to any one of their lounge is anywhere in the world they don't even ask for your boarding pass with I do it's just to record it there's nothing that they aren't always the fanciest lounges but there's always a place to sit there's always water drinks, coffee, internet and sometime shower so a lot of random places in the world as well. When I spent a lot of time traveling to africa poor countries in south asia there wouldn't usually be a nice lounge, but they would always have something sometimes and if you had priority past it was often accepted one of my favorite stories is and when I lived in cambodia the lounge in phnom penh airport I was humanitarian worker and I never got to visit the lounge on my ticket because it was always no the cheapest ticket but I learned that my priority pass got me into the lounge in phnom penh and then I learned that the lounge in phnom penh has this crazy benefit because they don't actually offer food in the lounge they offer all you can eat in any airport restaurant so as long as you finish your plate so you have your order things one at a time and if you finish your plate you can order something else it's kind of like being a kid you gotta finish your place but if you do you can keep order there's a strategy you have to like what are your appetizer first and finish it and move on what happens if you don't finish your meal like your plate they just don't don't you want anything no like no more you're cut off let's go back to the lounge huh? Lounge access is for the savvy how can you find out which lines you can access and I think that we have a workbook activity on that is that right that we d'oh nobody it's to the activity is to identify the airline okay that's your activity how I would look for the last years I can access is I would look out what airline I'm gonna be flying and how I'm gonna be transiting so you can start by the airline and see usually like if I'm flying on if I'm flying one world I'll usually go to the one world paige and look up their lounge there lounges than the list what lounges are in different airports you can also approach it from an airport perspective you know if you know you're gonna fly through hong kong, you can look at what lounges are there and planned part of your strategy into that if there's a lounge that has really got your attention, you could plan your whole trip around that you know, if you want to spend some time in frankfurt on your way teo to zanzibar in the in the first class terminal, then you could just plan your whole strategy to fly on uh starla thank frank take the four shot of the day you go back to the first class terminal so before we do the dream trip challenge of the day, any questions on lounges and we've covered a lot of stuff we've given you a lot of stuff to kind of think about and dream of what coming? How can I help you further because there is there a additional fee per admission when you use your priority pass because I've seen machines okay, but you have to pay twenty bucks or whatever okay good good point there's a couple of versions of the priority pass there is ah low budget person you can get I forget what it what it costs and then you do pay an additional fee for visit the one that's included with the american express platinum card is not that one it's the it's the standard one you twenty seven dollars for a guest if you bring a guest in this particular instance you pay for a guest but but your eminence there is no additional feed. And so when with the different cards that's an interesting thing to look at if you're traveling with the family some of them will let you bring one gas someone that you bring to guest there's a hole and some of the guests the rules are the ages of the guests so you could bring another adult er if you're traveling with your whole family you can usually bring at least one guest with most of the credit card offer sometimes more but not always other questions a quick question are there particular lounge is that you recommend people if they have a long stay in an airport do just pay for like are there certain experiences like maybe you ok, you go on pay thirty dollars for that experience? Yeah so it's a it's a tricky thing because some of the lounges especially domestic lounges you can do that they sell a day rate or a name pass it's, usually around between twenty five and fifty dollars on their probably some examples of where that's good that a lot of the best lounges, the ones that we're talking about the most aspirational ones that they won't sell accidents basically because pay a day rate at dysentery and lounge. Still, I think it's, if you have an american express card, any american express but not the plan, if you have the platinum when you get in free, if you have any other american express card, you can be admitted, but you have to pay fifty dollars if you have, if you have a few were stuck the whole day in dallas, that would be worth fifty dollars, worth fifty dollars, I always get a manicure when I fly through dallas can get a manicure or a facial. Unfortunately, you can't pay to visit the tire weighs, you know, lounge with the massage and all that because everyone would do it. So this is this is just a total side tip, but my mom did pay the fifty dollars, and I think it was in dallas because if you go in those lounges, they'll actually help you re book, travel a lot more rapidly and with more grace, and so she it was some like time when everything was being you know, was the airport was shut down or whatever, and she paid the money and then I was able to teo is an excellent way that our president is totally sure that agents that work in those, like those airline lounges are often more empowered or more skilled, or they're able to do stuff that other people aren't able to do so. It's totally true, good it's a great place to go and just before we wrap what's the most important thing our in studio audience learned today getting lessons in how to use my was getting a lot of value that's good. So he learned that he could get the free priority past membership from the american express platinum card that he's had for a long time. This guy's gonna call american express me be like, could I have my two hundred dollars for every year that you hold me, like forty two thousand dollars statement credit anybody else long? Listen, I know you know, I really I really liked what marvin and josephine marvin said don't try toe over, analyze everything when you just get started, and while we're focused on like giving, finding one destination, I can see how you would easily. Over analyze. Should I buy this with this card with this card, so just kind of that freedom of okay, you know that it's a great moment, that's told a great man, that's. Why we want to help people say, okay, here's, what I'm trying to do, here's, what you know I need to do to get to make it happen, and then, if trouble could be part of your lifestyle, just like it is for us and that's, wonderful, but, yes, don't don't remain paralyzed by that decision, so, thank you. He inspired these fire by all there is to choose, but focus on the one thing that you know how teo that's awesome.

Class Description

Who wouldn’t love to know how to earn enough miles and points for two airline tickets and three hotel nights? In Make Your Dream Trip a Reality, Chris Guillebeau and Stephanie Zito can show you how it's done. 

Travel feeds our creative spirits, allows us to discover new viewpoints, and fuels our work. In this class, you’ll find out how you can make your dream of journeying to the world’s most far-flung places a practical and affordable reality.

Chris and Stephanie have made it their life's mission to help others experience all the thrill and adventure that world travel can offer. In Make Your Dream Trip a Reality. 

Chris and Stephanie will help you: 

  • Master the system of Frequent Flier miles and hotel points
  • Set up a personal points-earning strategy – even if you don’t fly
  • Upgrade your dream vacation experience at no cost to you

In short, daily lessons, Chris and Stephanie will cover all aspects of how to plan your vacation including financing your trip. You’ll learn how to set your savings and point-earning strategy so you are armed with everything you need to relax and enjoy your vacation once you depart. They’ll teach you how to book flights and hotels so you get the very best experience at the absolute best rate. You’ll also get insider tips from professional globetrotters on traveling solo and as a family.

By the end of this course you’ll learn everything you need to know to save money, minimize hassle, and make the most of your travel experience.

Your dream destination, and a life of regular traveling, is now available to you – no matter your budget. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

40 Ways to Use Ultimate Rewards Points

Dream Trip Workbook

7 Habits of Highly Effective Travel Hacking Couples

Dream Trip Credit Card Tracker

Upgrade Unlocked Sneak Peak

10 Tips for Travel Hacking Families

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Highly recommended! This is one of the best CreativeLive courses I've ever taken and a great value. There's a lot of excellent information here, presented in a fun and accessible way. The CL "boot camp" approach was perfect for this topic because it dispenses the material in bite size pieces with very doable action steps along the way. The corresponding Facebook group adds even more value and camaraderie. It's a great place to clear up any questions or confusion that may come up. What an amazing resource! By the end of the course, not only will you have learned a tremendous amount, you will actually have something tangible to show for it!

a Creativelive Student

This is a fabulous course. Stephanie and Chris are both so knowledgeable, helpful, and easy going. They clearly love and practice what they're teaching. And they're open to learning from the students too. The course is packed with information, delivered in an immediately useful way. In fact, they emphasize again and again that the point is to USE the information to REALLY take your "Dream Trip" soon! The Facebook group is the best I've ever experienced with an online course. Stephanie and Chris are remarkably present, responsive, understanding, and generous with their knowledge and experience. I highly recommend this course.