понедельник, 27 июня 2016 г.

Pin me to your Pinterest Travel Hacking Resource Board!

Pin me to your Pinterest Travel Hacking Resource Board!

Pin me to your Pinterest Travel Hacking Resource Board!

Do you think and act like a successful travel hacker?

It’s easy to look at an article written by a travel hacking superstar and marvel at a crazy round-the-world trip. You know, the person stopped in 10 countries and barely made a dent in their miles and points balances. The articles usually show fancy maps with arcs hopping from one place to the next. I admit it. When I look at those maps, my eyes widen with the possibilities, too.

But, thinking and acting like a successful travel hacker really boils down to 3 things. Underneath all those beautiful itineraries mapped out are the basics. Behind all the travel photos of mountain tops, beautiful beaches, and street food stalls, the successful travel hacker is employing the same 3 things anyone can do.

In this post, you won’t find complex itineraries or fancy map routings. Instead, you’ll see really basic award booking examples with the 3 things to help you think and act like a successful travel hacker.

Before we continue, if you’re from the U.K, be sure to visit Travel the Globe 4 Less. Anne has everything you need to know.

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How to Think and Act Like a Successful Travel Hacker

1. British Airways uses a distance-based award chart. The number of miles needed to redeem for an award flight is based on the number of miles you fly. In some cases, this is a not-so-good deal, and even more so when you factor in British Airway’s high fees and taxes.

It’s not all bad news, though! In fact, there are some fantastic British Airways sweet spots. For example, you can fly from Boston to Dublin for just 12.5k British Airways Avios each way because it falls within the 2,001-3,000 miles-flown award tier. Consider that United would charge 30k miles and American Airlines between 22.5k-30k!

How to Book: Remember the importance of Airline Alliances and Airline Partners? British Airways has a non-alliance partnership with Aer Lingus. That means you can use BA Avios to book Aer Lingus flights. However, Aer Lingus doesn’t have a user-friendly website for searching flights and British Airways doesn’t show Aer Lingus flights. Argh!

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland Photo by cosmo_71

United has a much more user-friendly flight search tool and also partners with Aer Lingus. Go to United’s website. Search for flights from Boston-Dublin. Look for nonstop flights operated by Aer Lingus. Once you have found the flights, write down all flight information. Call British Airways and feed the Aer Lingus flights to the agent to book.

I found 2 Boston-Dublin flights on United. Remember to select nonstop only on your search.

Successful Travel Hacker Tip #1

25k Avios round trip from Boston to Dublin is a steal, of course! However, remember a successful travel hacker pieces together awards and doesn’t think in strict round trips only.

What if you booked a one-way from Boston to Dublin just to get to Europe. From there, you can use Momondo to find a cheap flight or book an award flight to another city. How does 12.5k Avios to Dublin + a flight for less than $100 to Prague or Budapest sound?

Not in Boston? Use the Southwest Companion Pass, take advantage of American Airlines short-haul awards, or find a cheap fare to “position” yourself in Boston. Isn’t it worth it for such a deal to Europe?

Hawaii Beach Photo by dronepicr

2. An award ticket to Hawaii from the east coast can feel like looking for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s even more so when you’re trying to get the best value from your miles. Delta’s award chart is nonexistent so determining how many miles you’ll need to fly to Hawaii can be frustrating, to say the least. Never mind you actually have to find the award space first.

United tends to have decent award availability, but using United miles for United flights is not the best use of your miles. You’ll want to use alliance partners instead. Korean Air is a SkyTeam partner with Delta and Singapore Airlines is a StarAlliance partner with United.

Which side has that pot of gold with the award flights to Hawaii?!

How to Book: If you’re looking for an award flight from the east coast to Hawaii, your best two options are as follows. First, check Delta for award seats. Search for only Delta flights. Partner flights aren’t the best option here. Look for one-way award seats priced at 22.5k in economy or 40k-50k in business/first class.

You’re looking for the 45k awards highlighted in orange.

If you find the right flights for you, you can fly those same Delta flights with Korean Air miles roundtrip for 25k in economy and 45k in first class. Korean Air is an instant 1:1 transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also transfer Starwood Preferred Guest points to Korean Air in 20k point increments to get a 5k point bonus.

In theory, you’ll transfer Chase UR points to Korean Air and tell the Korean Air agent the Delta flights you found. In reality, booking with Korean Air can be a bit of an obstacle and a whole blog post unto itself. Scroll down to the resources for a guide to booking Delta flights to Hawaii with Korean Air.

The second choice is to search United for availability. Again, you’re looking for United flights only, showing economy and first class saver awards. You’ll need 22.5k United miles each way for an economy ticket and 40k each way for first class. Using Singapore Airlines the exact same United flights will cost 17.5k and 30k KrisFlyer miles each way respectively. Singapore is also a transfer partner with Chase, American Express, Citibank, and SPG, making Singapore KrisFlyer miles easy to earn. Singapore is also much easier than Korean Air to book award flights. Scroll down to the resources for a guide to booking with Singapore.

Successful Travel Hacker Tip #2

A successful travel hacker always thinks flexibly. Hawaii award flights are trickier than some other awards to find and book for maximum value, but they’re not impossible either. Be willing to modify your dates or even book in a completely different month. Check surrounding airports and other airlines, too! As a New York-based flyer, I’m lucky with 3 airports close by, but if I’m stuck, I always check Philadelphia, Hartford, and Boston for more options. I search all the airline awards that would make sense. How flexible are you willing to be in order to book the award flight you want?

Photo by LoadedAaron

3. American Airlines devalued their award chart in March 2016 much to the disappointment to anyone who uses AAdvantage miles for award bookings. However, the AA award chart should not be overlooked or seen as just the same as its competitors. When changes happen, a successful travel hacker learns how to manage them. While AA did “adjust” off-peak award times, for example, the off-peak awards weren’t eliminated altogether either. In some cases, the number of miles needed for an award flight even dropped.

Have you been dreaming of a visit to Mont Saint-Michel?

Did you know from January 10-March 14 and November 1-December 14, just 22.5k AA miles one-way will land you in Europe? As long as you stay away from American partner British Airways and their high fees, this beats the 30k miles you’d need on United or even the 27.5k miles for a Singapore Air award.

Perhaps you’d prefer the lush rain forests of Costa Rica?

Or how about AA awards that actually improved? Between April 27-May 20 and September 7-November 14 booking a flight from the U.S. to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central America for just 12.5k AA miles each way in economy? Don’t like those dates? How about all the other times of the year for only 15k AA miles each way? A United award to these regions is a set 17.5k miles each way all year long!

**For all you experts reading this, yes, I know about using Etihad miles to book flights on American Airlines. However, Etihad takes some skill and patience to book, which may not be comfortable for beginners for perhaps just a small difference in miles.**

Source Unsplash

How to Book: Simply go to the American Airlines website and search for your award flight. Remember to avoid British Airways for flights to Europe because of their high taxes and fees. Don’t delay! If you see the award space you want on American Airlines, be ready to book it with your miles. Award space on American goes quickly and you’ll likely not see it again.

Successful Travel Hacker Tip #3

You don’t become a successful travel hacker by accident. Travel hacking takes some work and effort. You have to learn how to start and then continue to learn. Award chart changes happen. You need to understand the changes, know how to reduce the negative impact on your miles and points balances, and make gains from new benefits. Stay organized. Set goals and plan how to best use your miles. Don’t hesitate when you see a deal or great award flight and never ever let your miles and points expire.

Your Tasks This Week:

What are your questions about your award travel bookings? Are you piecing together your plans, being flexible, and doing your research?

Pin the call out pin for this post from above. Visit our Pinterest travel hacking board and make sure you’ve kept up with pinning all the resources you need.

Let’s discuss! Visit the Facebook Group to participate in this week’s conversation and polls.


The Points Guy’s Guide to Booking Award Flights with Korean Air

MileValue’s Guide to Booking United Flights to Hawaii with Singapore KrisFlyer Miles

Do you think and act like a successful travel hacker? Have you tried to book any of these award examples?

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Original article and pictures take http://www.theglobetrottingteacher.com/think-act-successful-travel-hacker/ site

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