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Make Your Dream Trip a Reality

Lesson 14 of 32

What Airlines Don't Want You to Know

Chris Guillebeau, Stephanie Zito

Make Your Dream Trip a Reality

Chris Guillebeau, Stephanie Zito

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Lesson Info

14. What Airlines Don't Want You to Know

Lesson Info

What Airlines Don't Want You to Know

We've been talking all week about booking your flights, and now we want to share some things that the airlines don't want you to know. OK, it's kind of a special lesson was great to have our live check in and hear from lots of people online and we want to keep rolling along. Today, every lesson has three goals. If you've got your workbook, you can fill these in. If you don't have your workbook, you could still fall along with us. No problem. Today's goals are to assess your travel hacking risk level. We're actually gonna do that right at the end. After we talked to some other stocks will come back to it, discover insider tips in black hat strategies. I think we have. Do we have something? God, Anything you say when you're wearing the black hat A secret? That's right. Okay, so put this on a kilogram. Looked like Okay. All right. Thanks. Way. Have a lesson, Teoh. Last become travel booking engine. Okay? Teach you some fun stuff. We're gonna go progressively progressively more, you know, ...

easy. Too difficult. Or maybe a little bit riskier, edgier as we go along. Eso used these things at your own risk, and we'll start with something simple with Stephanie before I start. I just want to say you only you can only do what you're comfortable with, and that's how travel hacking works across the board and again. I said it 100 times in the three weeks we've had together. But if you're just starting out, do one thing at a time and build on it. When you learn how to do that, you learn how to do the next thing. So if some of these things you might feel a little lost, don't worry, you aren't. You aren't at that place yet, but remember, it's a scale, and you're moving along your your speed, you're catching up. So we talked a little bit about this already. You are not standard, and we talked about asking when we're calling for those more complex awards, asking the airlines what the business class availability was and how many miles it would cost for business class. I also wanted to let you know that you can actually see this online in a lot of places. This is actually just a a search on on this is the United Award and I was looking actually for Kim's award here. So I'm searching from Vancouver here. Teoh Mongolia. Too long, Betar. And this is a really great example of how much the IT costs in economy class versus how much it would cost in business class. And you can see here if you can get it for the saver price. It's 35,000 miles and $73 for the economy ticket. But if you have to pay that standard a number of miles, that's gonna be 80,000 miles. And that same ticket on the same plane for 80,000 miles is available in business class, right? So in this case, the economy flights available and so you could get a lower price. But in a lot of cases, the business class flight could be actually cheaper than the Economy class award. And we've repeated this a couple times because so many people forget toe look and the airlines they want you to believe. You are standard. You are not standard. I feel like the standard flights are like the inflate. It's like when you go shopping, you know, like the full price. Like who buy something the day it comes out in the store. You don't wait, Will, you know, like in two weeks, this is gonna be on sale? It's gonna be 20% off the real prices. The sale price here, the real price is the saver price. And that's the price that you want to pay. Another little trick I want to teach you guys about is called Hidden City ticketing. Has anybody heard of this before? Scott, I'm not surprised. Right. So I'm gonna give you an example. Say, I wanted to travel from Portland to Dallas, right? I live in Portland. Probably What I would do is I would get online and I would search Portland to Dallas. Right. If I do that Portland Dallas, The most direct route. I get this. I look on American and there's a direct flight. There's also a direct Alaska flight. Portland, Dallas. It costs about $495. You can look like look at those flight numbers there before I show you the next life. So I'm looking there. I think I don't really like getting up early in the morning, so I'm going to go on the 11. 55 flight gives me. Time to go to the board room in the Portland airport. The boardrooms, they last clowns. They have a pancake machine. We're gonna talk about that in less than 21. Now, look at this. Remember, I wasn't take Flight 15 25. What if I add a city to my destination? Right. So Dallas is a hub. So anytime I fly into a hub city, the cost of the flight is going to be more expensive. Usually not always, but usually. So I decided. What if I look beyond Dallas at some other like, small cities around Texas? So I did a little bit sleuthing around and I put in Austin, and I found out that if I fly on that same flight 15. 25 from Portland to Dallas and then I have a connecting flight from Dallas to Austin. The flight is $302. Remember this flight this flight 302 Now, nobody says I actually have to get on the plane in Dallas. I could very conveniently miss my flight in Dallas and just stay in Dallas and pay $200 less for my ticket if I'm booking it with cash. So that's a really great deal. A $200 saving for that tiny little segment that I'm actually not going to take. We have some questions already. I just know that I can notice that people have some questions to make. Sure make sure people really understand this concept because there's a lot that you can do it. You can save a lot of money. Okay, We're gonna use You can't have. Okay, I'm gonna talk. Talk about that a moment. I'm pretty sure goes to Austin. And that's what you were gonna go to, Austin, so we'll come back to that. Do you have a comment or question? Yes. Just make sure that you don't tell the hairline that you're doing that. We would never say something like that. Way would never say this to like the world. Okay, cast versus if you're using award miles. So when I say cash, I mean any any kind if you're paying right. But you couldn't do this with award miles. Well, there wouldn't be any benefit to doing it with award miles because it wouldn't cost any more money. Makes sense. General question find out this. So I know that whenever I'm flying to an airline hub, I usually have a good idea that that that's an option. But there actually is Ah, website that I think United is currently suing. It's called Skip Flag. And actually, what they do is they'll search it for you. And so this is an example you don't see. You don't see the price differential here, but here, you see, I probably wouldn't fly on this like this on spirit. But here, you can see that you can fly from Chicago to Vegas. Um, searching from Chicago, Las Vegas. It shows you Chicago, Las Vegas, and then the flights. Cheapest if you book the flight all the way to Kansas City And so the great part of this tells you which part of the flight you are not taking? No. Have any of you guys heard of this website before? Have any of you guys used it before? So, depending on when you're watching it, this website may or may not just because, as I said, it's kind of under attack. This the airlines don't want this website to exist basically because it's helping people to save money. So we just mentioned it that, you know, hopefully it's there. But if not, I want you to understand that the general principle behind this that you know, if you're looking for a ticket and it appears to be really expensive, maybe because it's a hub city like we talked about Dallas, Chicago is other hub cities. Yes. I mean, do they have any of those airline have any way of coming back on you after you don't come right to the right hitting city ticking? Be aware. I think all the questions were basically everybody's like, Whoa, what does this is gonna work for me? So? So there's a few things that you need to be aware of. That's why this is a black hat, you know, obsession. A few things you need to be aware of. If you want to pursue this strategy, if you're aware of these things, it will work for you. But the city you skip has to be the last one. That's because if you miss any of your connections on any flight, the rest of your ticket is canceled, so you have to make sure you're adding on that city in the Final one sewing Stephanie's example. She's going Portland Dallas, she adds on Dallas, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston. Whatever it is, you can't skip any city until it's the last one was in the ticket kind of disappears. Don't check bags. Eso This is not good if you have a lot of luggage. Yes. Trip. Basically, you can't do this on the round trip. Well, it has to be the last segment. Basically, Yeah. So most most of the tickets that we're looking at, especially now a domestic tickets are actually booked as one ways. Even if you purchase a round trip. If you look at kind of the bear code, it's actually booked is 21 ways. So, yes, you need to do that extra step of booking your ticket one way, and in booking your ticket back, that's a good point. Don't check bags, because if you do have a checked bag, it will go to that final destination. It may be possible in some cases, if you have a long time between the city, you're actually going to on the one in which you have booked. You may actually be able to get the airline agent to tag it to that city. So I would say, You know, if Stephanie's in this example she was doing Portland Dallas in the morning or something, and a connection, you know, onto Austin wasn't until the evening. For some reason, she could request, you know, upon checking the bag, you know, to target to Dallas. Don't count on it. Yeah, I wouldn't count on it. And also, you know, if your connection is a media, it's kind of weird to be like you actually bought this ticket, Austin. But I want to go off and get my bag and Dallas, cause that's what they'll know what you're doing. Check bags on then, in case of rerouting. That's the other thing that can go wrong in some cases, you know if there's a weather delay or a mechanical delay on and you book this for a certain reason and in the airline comes along to make your life better basically and give you a more favorable routing. But it's actually like they come along and say, Oh, the you know, the Dallas flight is canceled, but now we booked you on a partner. You know, Carrier director Austin like now you can get to your city faster. In this example, you can actually request the original routing. Like if something has been changed, you can actually say like, No, I prefer that routing, and that's not bad. But you could have a meeting in that city that you were going on route. You could just prefer it that way. So if you if you get rerouted, which may happen, you know, one of every 100 times or something, you'd have to exist on the original itinerary. And so just a stress. When we talk about black hat secrets, this is not illegal at all. You are well within your rights to do this. I mean, we wouldn't talk about it here on creativelive if you weren't, but the airlines don't like it. So both of these facts are true. It's not illegal, but they also don't like it, so they try to stop it. So that's why it's a little bit complicated. Keep it on the down low. That's why I'm not telling the whole world, you know. But it's a nice thing toe have in your toolbox. Maybe it's not something that you book like all the time, right but it's a nice thing you have. If you're trying to go somewhere and flights really expensive, there might be a way, like we just saw this, this quick example to save $200 on a $500 ticket. Does that make sense? So I'm thinking about international flights. When you go through customs and you see your bag again and you're adding in a hub, that might be your final destination. Wouldn't that be then possible to do Hidden City and get your bag back right? Give a T throw and you're not actually gonna go on to Bristol? That's true. That's actually like you could. Theoretically, that's true. You know, I'm mostly familiar with this strategy for North American tickets, maybe tickets within Europe or something. But I could You could conceivably be possible for international tickets as well, but I think it's just tricky because you have to, like, make absolutely certain you're gonna get your bags and all of that. Maybe it could create a customs issue or something. I'm not sure. Yes, I actually did that come back from Europe to Dulles, and I wanted to go to Florida. But instead of coming back to Seattle and I had It's one way. Took it from dollars to Florida, and I got my bags and cups. Skip the lesson. There you go. Nobody. Nobody came back on your Nobody was like, Why don't you take that flight was really nervous. That your plane ticket. That's why we're kind of stressing it. I know airlines don't like it, but you purchase this plane ticket you can do with it what you want. It worked. Anything else on that? Cool. Okay, so the next thing not to make it even more complicated, but we're gonna make it more complicated. Who here, besides, Scott has heard has ever heard of fuel dumping? Okay, great. What is feel dumping. So fuel dumping is like taking advantage off like aggregators and and software toe like add on a segment that will cut the fuel surge. Fuel surcharge. Okay, that's pretty good. Actually, I don't actually know much about the aggregators and the software side of it. I just understand the general concept, and we're actually not gonna teach a lot about this concept. Basically gonna tell you what it is until everyone who's watching what it is at the end, I'll give you a link, and if you want to learn more about it than you can go there, it's kind of a rabbit hole kind of thing. But I'll tell anybody about it was curious. So, as Matt said, that was very succinct, inaccurate, highly secret. Also complicated general principle is that as we've discussed fuel surcharges at a ton of money to certain tickets, often for no good reason, even when the price of fuel is very low, there still this large fuel surcharge. So it's just a way for the airlines to increase more money. And for a number of years now, it's been possible, just as we learned with Hidden city tickets to add an extra city to certain reservation. This is actually for international itineraries, primarily hidden city ticketing. At least I'm more familiar with it in terms of U. S and Canada stuff. But for coming back from Europe, coming back from Asia, you often see these $600 fuel surcharges or $400 for something just actually possible, you know, to have your ticket back to your hub city or wherever it is that you're coming back to, and then adding extra additional city on beyond it on in the fuel surcharge will magically disappear from the cost of the ticket. As I said, it's a little bit complicated. It's not something that anyone could do without delving into it a bit more. But for those who are watching and want to go to the next level, who are into the out of the control, out of control kind of profile, there's, ah, block post on my block A and C dot co slash fuel dumping. And we might even discuss this a little bit in the Facebook group for Creative Live just to explain more to people. This is just something for you to be aware of, that if you want to pursue it, you know it could help you. It takes a little bit more toe, spend time on it when were fined story. I don't know if anybody read this story. That kind of came out and went viral. A few months ago, there was this guy in China, not this particular guy, but a guy in China. We spent 300 days visiting an airline lounge. A really nice one. We're gonna show you some real nice lounges later. So you understand why someone might want to do this? I spent 300 days visiting an airline lounge and having a nice meal and taking a shower and working and everything else without ever traveling. Does anyone know how he might have done that? No idea. Well, other than Scott way have to exclude, you know, our resident travel expert From that, any idea past two? He did something better than that. In some cases, you can get an annual pass, but no, you can get you can purchase annual membership, but you still have to have a ticket to fly. If you have ah, membership in allowed. You still you can't just go in the airport. Do you have to be flying? So he did not have ah, purchase membership. What he had was a purchase ticket. He had a purchased refundable ticket that was fully refundable and fully changeable. And so every day he would go to the airport and he would check in and he would go to the lounge on, have his meal in his shower and anything else he wanted. And then he would go the desk and say, I'd like to change my ticket to tomorrow on. He did this for days before. Finally, you know, I think the game was that the game was up basically, and they said, You know, you shouldn't do this, so no one should probably do that for 300 days in a Rome. But maybe you can extrapolate a little bit and say, if you're in a situation in which there is a lounge you really want to go to or your flight has been terribly delayed or depending again on your wrist level, in your comfort level, you just you just want to do something. You can purchase a refundable plane ticket that provides access to whatever loans you're trying to go to, and then you go to the lounge and then you cancel the ticket. I will give you full disclosure. I have done this once in my life. It's not something I do 300 days. But there was one time that I did this and I was in the Hong Kong airport where I'm always at, and this particular time I was not flying Cathay Pacific, my favorite carrier. I was actually flying a budget airline. AirAsia or something like that and my flight onto Malaysia Waas delayed 13 hours and I remember thinking like what? What can I do? I was like, If only I was flying Cathay, I could have access to one of my favorite lounges, like like hey, all the time. But I'm not. And then I realized, wonder if I can go online and get a ticket and use that ticket to gain access to the lounge. And so, in that case, to be fully transparent, honest. I did it and it worked. It was great on Bond. I continue to fly Cafe and other OneWorld member airlines all the time, and now my elite status actually gives me access. But after that I was like, You know, I don't want to abuse this process myself. I don't want spend 300 days in the airport lounge, but this is a fun kind of thing for somebody who's stuck. So I offer that to you. You can do with it what you will. The the guy in China was probably out of control, so choose your own wrist level. Even some people who might be uncomfortable with doing it the way I did it. I understand that. But we just kind of want to talk to you about some different opportunities about some things that might work, depending on who you are and speaking of comfort and travel and risk. And all of that, I believe, are workbook activity is about that. Do we have on page 36 of our workbook? We have an activity that says, Would you and some of the questions that are in there How do you feel? Would you book a hidden city ticket? Would you be really nervous about doing it? Would you feel like you were cheating the airline? He's shaking his head. No, it's asking if you're not comfortable answering, it's OK, but would you be comfortable, right? Raise your hand if you be comfortable booking a hidden city ticket. Okay, that's 100% almost under your way. I thought you were talking about never good not asking you to sneak into the lounge. I think that comes up, but we have a couple others. You know it's not, and it's not just the black hat risk level to a lot of the things we've talked about last week also require some risk. You know, the financial risk of depositing big sums of money and not so the next question is, would you make a small financial investment to earn a good size amount of miles? Yeah, I would do that. I would do have had money another week and cover this one, but it's actually a good strategy. Would you change your mailing address if it meant earning a mileage bonus? So you have to extract just like five addresses? I think so. This is a good point because sometimes promotions are targeted specifically to certain countries on status match opportunities, which we'll talk about a bit later. Getting elite status requires you to to have an address, at least in a particular country. So this is kind of a black hat thing. If you want to be eligible, all you have to do is change your address. Some people be comfortable with that, and some people won't. I do have a new address in Abu Dhabi, and my twin sister, who has my middle name, is her first name. She lives there twin sister for a long time. Would you be willing to sneak into a lounge? I know Chris would probably think into a lounge, right? So that's kind of like sneak into a lot of weight, really talked about sneaking into a lot some people might be willing to sneak into allowance. That's fine, um, purchase of a refundable ticket for a mileage bonus and then cancel it. I think you have a story about this. I think, uh, I think one time I found a ticket online where there was the airline was multiplying the bonuses that you would receive for purchasing the ticket. And some people on one of the forums, I believe discovered that you could purchase this ticket. It was something like $8000 ticket fully refundable on def. You purchase the ticket, you would receive the maximized bonus Whether you traveled or not on DSO. I had to think about my risk level. My okay, Like putting an $ charge on my credit card, which I'm going to cancel. Andi have to, like, float that for a few days. What if the airline gets mad or finds out or something? But I believe I did that and it worked out. I did it to him. I was really nervous for like the whole week before it cleared on my credit card. And then I cancelled it. And then I was like, I would totally do that again. So it's not slippery slope, but not necessarily to become, like, comfortable with unethical things. But maybe some of this, like Hidden City ticketing it can be complicated, but I don't believe it's unethical. It all you can purchase whatever plan to get you anywhere. There's a couple more questions in the workbook that you guys can do those by yourselves. Okay, Questions strategy. Tripped up with the hidden city in the luggage question. You needed your luggage to get there, and I'm thinking you could probably set exit to yourself. That the that the city you want to be in certainly could pick, especially if you're sending saving a couple 100 bucks. Yeah, Yeah, I just wanted to good. Good taking the lessons to a next level. I did have a question. It struck me in this last lesson when you said most domestics are actually booked as one ways now. And this is something that I'm learning through this book camp. And you said to look at the codes. What? What codes. Are you talking about what I was saying? You don't actually have to look at the cause. I was just saying, When you purchase a return ticket often the way it's actually set up with the airline or however you purchased it, if you were to look into it, you would see it's actually just based on 21 ways. But how? How would you know that? Just to know? You don't have to know that, I guess. I guess what's helpful is to begin thinking when you're looking for tickets. In general, it's often helpful to search for one ways because the price may be lower or even if it's. If it's not lower its the same, you might have more flexibility. I usually search for both, especially in its domestically. Usually it's about the same, but internationally. A lot of times it still is cheaper if you're buying a return ticket for yes. In response, semi answer to that question. There are like there is a total court I t. A matrix, which is by Google, and you can look up the fare class rules off like how that works, and that's kind of like the background of the code and what's allowed with each individual tickets. So there's that anybody really wants to geek out. They can look at fuel dumping online. I can look at I t a Matrix. That's a great tool that gets into all kinds of complex stated that we're not talking about. If you want to geek out more on black hat strategies, there's a lot of this forms I talked about in the first week, the or in the second week. Flyertalk in Mile point. They have some specific forums that cover a lot of stuff like this. Exactly. What's the most important thing you learned today? Yes, I take it. Anyone else get it? I wasn't really familiar with that. Well, be going Teoh. Intriguing. The rial prices, the saver price standard. Yeah, I think I learned how good I look Good. I kind of want to be like that guy. I went to the lounge for 300 days, a weird kind of way, but I probably won't someone else had their Henry's. I didn't even consider like a refundable ticket to me was always like, Well, it's just extra, so I don't want that, but yeah, I never thought about the other. It's 100% refundable and it doesn't matter what the prices. So you just you look really closely right in terms of convincing. I know I did. In that one case, I was like, I hope it's OK, but it was like

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. 



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.