Getting Points & Miles


Become a Travel Hacker


Lesson Info

Getting Points & Miles

Let's do a quick little of frequent flier test it's a little different airport code challenge we're gonna talk about some specific things here I don't understand what people already know it's going to frame some of the things that we're looking at throughout the day so I think we'll do this in a fact or fiction format fact or fiction you have to fly a lot to earn a lot of miles or points to give the thumbs up or thumbs down in studio well thumbs down everybody all right that's great comes down that's right I do fly a lot but I earn a lot more miles on the ground and most active travel hackers do so for the past five years or so I have burned more than a million miles or points every year and probably about two hundred thousand of those have been through flying so it is a fair amount of flying but the point is eighty percent of them have been earned on the ground through various promotions and things fact or fiction travel hacking is all about cheating the airlines or hotels can have me...

ntioned this briefly thumbs down mostly one person is like I'm not sure okay school that's right it's really important to mention like this is not so much about taking advantage of the system this is a system that has been created by the airlines that actually benefits the airlines airline miles are a big business in some cases the mileage programs operated by the airlines are structured a separate company and in some cases especially in the us the mileage programs have been more profitable than the airlines themselves and when we talk about banks banks are more than happy for people to get credit cards and manage them responsibly they continue to raise sign up bonuses year after year so it's not about cheating the airlines or hotels it's about understanding the system and putting it to the best use for yourself speaking of credit cards factor fiction you have to get a lot of credit cards to be a successful hacker you might notice the theme here ok? Thumbs down he says maybe that's right? The answer is not really it's certainly easier if you can if we want to start talking about hundreds of thousands of miles at a time definitely doesn't make it much easier but we do regularly here from people who are also able to earn significant mileage bonuses every year without using credit cards so we'll talk about that fact or fiction travel hacking is only possible if you live in america right? You guys are so smart that's right lots of great deals do begin from the u s but you don't actually have to be american to participate in the u s mileage programs you can be a travel hacker from anywhere in the world and by the way often mentioned that the u s it doesn't always have the greatest airlines you may have heard, like really great things about asian airlines, or about emirates or etihad, and those things were true, so the carriers are often better elsewhere around the world, but the specific programs, the mileage programs are usually best in the us, and you can take advantage of those things from all over the world accept credit cards, and when we talk about credit cards, there's also opportunities for people outside of north america to do that as well. So you don't have to live in america, uh, fact or fiction. Millions of miles expire every year because it is so difficult to redeem them. All right, there's a thumbs up someone's being brave here comes up kind of a divided room here. Okay, it's a trick question. It's true miles do expire, lots of miles expire, but they don't have to and s so it's kind of a two point thing here. It's very easy to keep your mind miles from expiring. We'll talk about how to do that throughout the day, and the other point is because it's, so difficult to redeem them, it also doesn't have to be difficult to redeem them, so we'll have a lot of time focused on how to actually take advantage of these reward son so a lot of people don't use their miles so I guess that's the point there are millions of miles that are out there that aren't being put to use because people don't know how to do it so that's what we hope teo kind of fix here today factor fiction lounge access is only for the elite no lounge access is for the study and we'll show you how to do that alright factor fiction traveling on a budget means you'll always be uncomfortable that's right this is my favorite taxi park in kampala uganda which was nice I did I think tougher mentioned a long bus ride my longest bus ride with I think it was something like thirty two hours from from kampala uganda to dar es salaam tanzania it wasn't super comfortable but it was a great experience you don't have to backpack you don't have to stay in hostels or fly the cheapest airlines in the world in fact some of what's most interesting about travel hacking is the ability to experience things that you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford we'll show lots of examples of that as we go along factor fiction travel hacking is dangerous travel it's your own risk not really there isn't much danger but there's a few warnings will give you through out the course today first morning is future travelers today will rock your world I really believe in under promising so I'll just say that today will change your life will be a totally different person after you watch this course today like nothing will ever be the same so we'll start with that and if we can do something better than that's great all right points and miles one of one guy's doing good all right like the thumbs up thing that was fun online I insist good all right let's get into some real specifics here um there are three major airline alliances some of you might know this already right they are one world and sky team and star alliance esso out of all the major airlines in the world most of them belonged to one of these three alliances and it's important to understand this on in fact your first action point whether you're here or online if you're just getting started in all of this you need to sign up for three mileage programs one in each alliance so this is free and easy to do and you can do it online we have the links available travel hacking dot org's slash creative live s there's lots of different airlines and each alliances you may wonder like which one should I sign up for it a little bit confusing eso there's a quick short answer if you're not sure what to do start with united american and delta and so we want to make sure that everybody that we're working with today has an account with one of those, as well as if you're planning to get miles online, then that would be great. Earn points now actual tips for getting miles so we have split up the whole component of earning miles into four sections will cover three of them before lunch or before the first break. Ongoing opportunities are things that are always available in some cases, you can set something up and then forget about it all the while continuing to earn miles, which is really nice. First opportunity to mention about this is dining programs, so there are dining programs, which you can register with again, free and online. We'll share the links on when you register, you'll earn three to five miles per dollar spent at any one of thousands of restaurants it's based on the number of dying's like the more you dine throughout the year, you know the more miles per dollar that you're you learn, but you can set up with this dining program. You register your card, any credit card or debit card that you have, you don't have to have a special credit card or debit card for it and all of the major u s carriers, even some international carriers offer a dining mileage program, so this is really fun because you do this and set it up and you don't have to go out of your way to go to specific restaurants you could do that if you want to but chances are some of the places that you already eat at are part of this program chances are you could be traveling somewhere I often will go to a new city and have, you know, lunch or dinner somewhere not even I realize that that you know restaurant is part of the program and then later on all season points have been added to my statement you don't have to sign anything special which is automatically done so this is just a fun little thing to do there's actually a current offer of american advantage dining miles where you get a thousand points when you joined the program and you complete one dime and then review the restaurant the yelp style kind of thing on dh justus we all buy food every day most of us by other things two and so the airlines and merchants have cooperated to create what are called mileage malls where you can earn extra points simply by visiting a website before making a purchase. So again we got some links to the mileage most on the resource his page right now there's a special offer for the alaska mileage small well where you'll earn seven hundred fifty bonus points I think once you register maybe you make one completed purchase or something the point of these mileage malls is to use them for things that you already buying especially big ticket items so in my case it was a couple months ago I needed to buy a new laptop computer needed to buy a new mac book so the pricing for you know apple computers a standardized is not going to be different anywhere but I went to the other side which I'll show you evey reward dot com and even the award shows you which miley tamal is offering the largest reward when you search by retailer that's why it's named after you that's right it's great so I went to this website and I talked an apple and I said okay, we're going to get the biggest mileage bonus and it was just kind of re directed me to another retailer I went there completed the purchase same price and then I earned I think two to three times or something you know the points that I would have otherwise earned you have a question if you back up one side and on the mileage plus shopping I used that I'm doing some remodeling on my house right now so I do that I go to the lows like that I order what I need and by the time I drive to the store they've got it all they've got it for me amazing so I don't have to shop and I'm getting bonus bonus I love it that's great. So if you need to do some home remodeling, check out the that's great that's well that yeah, all kinds of merchants really I use apples and gently used lows I think we'll talk about gift cards in a moment my starbucks card I you know I have starbucks card on my phone, bobby like some of you are somebody watching due and I reload my starbucks card you know from a gift card purchased through mileage mall essentially you know or from an office supply store which we'll talk about it and I'm earning more points that's right? Gift cards are next slide whenever I shop it amazon I buy gift cards from amazon at office supply stores I'm using a special credit card the chase anchor chasing bold card which will cover more in the next segment on then I earn five times the points from that, so basically everything I buy starbucks is five times the points everything about amazon is five times the points because I'm specifically going to get those gift cards. The next action is registered for at least one dining miles program and one online shopping program. So if you're watching online and you're kind of multi tasking you khun do some of that now in other windows you can wait until the break and do it in studio audience can hang out and wait and do it at the break but these are a couple of things just to get you started that you'll begin ernie miles for right away without doing anything that you wouldn't otherwise d'oh which brings me to the next frequent travelers warning don't spend money on things you normally wouldn't buy just to acquire extra points right because the whole point is actually for this to benefit you notto bankrupt you so but if you do your normal shopping this way this will help a lot banking so there is also some banking bonuses that you can take advantage of one bank bank direct dot com will actually pay interest in miles eso these days interest rates aren't so great you're not earning a lot on your money somewhere else if you have a significant balance you can deposit then you can deposit bank direct and you'll get paid in american advantage miles every month there's also a few other opportunities I don't know if we have them all in the slides but on the resource is page there is an opportunity with fidelity where if you deposit ah balance then I'll pay you are sign up bonus after a few months after a few months there's a couple of other offers with I n g and suntrust and city banking that I think we have linked up we won't get into too much detail here now surveys another really simple kind of thing there's a lot of online survey programs that you could go to and link it to your mileage account you can answer surveys you get points it's really simple e miles he rewards there's one called opinion miles its opinion miles club dot com and you get six hundred miles for your first survey just to do that if you're just kind of like learning how this works it's a fun thing and then also the reason I mentioned this you may think while six hundred miles is not that great I mentioned about miles expiring for most program smiles will expire after one year or two years if there's no activity in the account but if there's any activity of any kind in the account then that's extended another one year or two years right? So if you ever have a flight if you're ever you know earning miles another fashion if you're spending miles whatever you do that account will remain active for a long period of time but if you have a like a doorman account that you haven't really done anything with you know a survey is a quick way you go into a survey it'll deposits in points there were good for another two years so miles basically never have to expire as long as you keep up with them action register for a mileage survey go to the rewards e miles for opinion miles good places to start on the links europe on travel hacking dot org's creative live okay, those are a few ongoing opportunities. Promotions are one ofthe deals that come around from time to time. Some of them have been really big. A few years ago, there was a deal where you could effectively by money from the u s mint in the form of dollar coins, and you buy that money on a one to one basis. Basically so you buy a thousand dollars worth of dollar coins for one thousand dollars, and you received free shipping of this money, and you could then take that money to the bank and re deposited on dh. So when I first learned about that, I placed an initial order of, I think, three thousand dollars and in three thousand dollars worth of gold coins showed up on my doorstep, which are surprisingly heavy to carry to the bank. But I did it, and I got it. I got the three thousand miles of my great that's awesome, but I kept ordering, and I think by the time I finally got tired of carrying points to the bank, I had done maybe thirty thousand dollars, you know, worth of gold coins on dso that's just that's. One example of something that comes up there was another thing a couple of years ago where a hair loss treatment program was offering twenty thousand sky miles for a consultation and obviously I want to pay anything for it so I went and got a hair loss consultation it took about thirty minutes it was a bit awkward, you know excited, really having problems but they gave me twenty thousand miles right there was another opportunity. This was one of my favorites. There was a chance to buy stickers essentially on because of this like twenty ex bonus during the holiday shopping season with the us airways milo small that was a mileage mall deal the bonus like incredibly iraq it was like two hundred fifty percent bonus and I spent five thousand dollars and I received eight hundred thousand frequent flier miles eight hundred eight thousand in my accounts and I posted up the screen shot because no one believed me at the time and my favorite part was where it says eight hundred fifty two thousand miles and zero miles flown like I never actually flew us airways so you know, I used all of those miles you know, to book my flight on star alliance all over the world and that took me I have no idea how many trips you know I took based off of that I think I still have maybe two hundred thousand miles some left from that teo so you know that deal is gone now but there's always deals that are coming out probably every month or two there's something significant last week there was a deal with etihad airways where you could register for a business account and you received ten thousand free miles in the business account, which is a really big opening bonus. One second I'll come to you and you also received ten thousand miles in a personal account, so that was basically twenty thousand miles, you know, for filling out this form and faxing something and and I think they've lowered that now to five thousand, but the point is with promotions like things are always coming up and I'll tell you how to keep up to date on that but yes, marianne yeah, find out about these promotions, there's a couple of things you can do, you can be active yourself and there are forms you can go to mile point dot com is my favorite floor it for, um uh it's totally free and you can use all kinds of different forms were different airlines and different things, and you can kind of lose yourself in the rabbit hole if you want, which I've done many times flyertalk dot com was the original frequent flyer forum and there's a whole community of people tracking these things there's also a number of blog's that are published, and if you could subscribe to the block and if you read it once a week or something, then you can see those deals a couple of those resources are linked up and we'll talk about them and then we also have a commercial service, the travel hacking cartel and with that service you pay a monthly fee. We help you tell people about the specific deals there's a variety of ways to keep up. I want to talk briefly about purchasing miles and I'll introduce you to a very quick formula. Uh, I'm not very good at math, so this is the only formula you have to worry about the whole day on this is cpm cost for miles cost divided by number of miles. This is important to think about as you evaluate different opportunities for earning miles you kind of won t understand like water miles were you know my time is limited how much time I kind of maybe I have thirty minutes a month or maybe I have an hour a month or something to spend on this even if I have a couple hours a month is still not a great deal of time. So the formula of cost for miles is especially important when thinking about purchasing miles from the airlines because it's possible to buy miles directly most of the time, this isn't a good deal, but there are some exceptions I'll show you, I'll show you some examples right now on united there's, a holiday promotion where you can save twenty percent and you can purchase miles I think a maximum of fifty thousand or something like that and to purchase fifty thousand miles cost fourteen hundred dollars. One thousand four hundred and eleven the value of that per mile is two and a half cents per mile s o this is better than the usual valuation which would be three point seven five cents per mile but it's still not a good deal. So basically we don't recommend people purchase fifty thousand miles you know, for fourteen hundred dollars on here's another offer from american airlines again for comparison sake with american you can purchase fifty thousand miles for thirteen hundred and seventy five dollars that's what points it's like point two seven something cents per mile s o that's better than the united deal but it's still really not great it's not something we would encourage people to go out to do unless they had a specific redemption in mind if there was a specific trip that you needed these miles for and you felt that the value of that would be better and you could do it but otherwise it's not something we encourage people to buy expected totally. However sometimes purchasing miles is a good deal and a few times a year us airways has a number of promotions out and most of the promotions are purchasing directly. You can purchase fifty thousand miles just like with the united and american deal and evaluation here is much better, so they actually haven't offered that's available today. It ends today of all things, and this is on offer to share miles, not to purchase smiles. So for this offer in particular, you have to have already had us areas miles, but if you have us a raise miles in your account or if you purchase them before you can share them with someone else up to fifty thousand and you pay a fee for doing that, and the fee is five hundred dollars for fifty thousand miles plus tax so it's basically one cent per mile that didn't sound too convoluted. Basically, the way it works is you can share fifty thousand miles for the cost of five hundred dollars plus taxes, one cent for miles. So this is a really good deal, and if you don't have us a wry smiles, we haven't done this before, but as I said a few times a year, they have the opportunity to purchase them often about the same valuation may be a little bit higher, esso I usually do that I have seen miles and stock, and when this offer comes available, men it's, great to take advantage of, I would say, I would summarize all of this. To make sure we don't lose people by saying there's, this great saying a penny saved is a penny earned the travel hacking penny. Principal eyes. If you can acquire miles for a penny or less, you should do so. That's, a general rule of thumb, to make all that much more simple, eh? So we would say a penny spent is a mile earned famous travel hacker.

Class Description

Want to jet off to Europe or Asia, or holiday in style without paying for it? Welcome to the world of travel hacking: the art of free or low-cost travel made possible through frequent flyer miles, round-the-world plane tickets, and other innovative money-saving strategies.

NYT bestselling author Chris Guillebeau has traveled to every single country in the world. During this course, Chris and a few special guests will show you how to earn hundreds of thousands of miles and points — before even getting on an airplane. You'll then learn how to put your new treasure chest to good use to go anywhere, anytime.

Your dream vacation is much cheaper — and can happen much sooner — than you think!

Warning: this action-packed adventure is highly practical. You might find yourself planning your next vacation in real-time.


Christine Yun

I wish I saw this course earlier! I learned so many tips on how to save money and discovered how to get perks from different credit cards. There's definitely long-term benefits to watching this class. Also, this is a great class if you're thinking of opening a new credit card as it walks you the benefits of each one.