Everything I’ve learned about frequent flier miles I learned from Chris Guillebeau . Not directly, mind you. We’re not best friends. :) I just buy all his travel products. Previous to learning from Chris I had earned a sum total of slightly more than 25,000 frequent flier miles on NWA over the course of 5 years! I used those miles to fly from Orlando, FL to Toronto, Canada in Coach. A massive $300 ticket. (Obviously I didn’t know what I was doing.)
I’m pretty sure Chris would knock me over the head for wasting miles on such a weak ticket. But I don’t think he’s a violent person so maybe he’d just ask me to sit in a corner and contemplate what I did wrong.
Since learning from Chris I have earned over 300,000 miles. I used 67,500 American Airlines miles + $60.20 in taxes for a Business Class ticket (~$5,000 value, maybe more) from Detroit, MI (DTW) to Mumbai, India (BOM). I also used 70,000 British Airways miles + $210.72 in taxes for a Business Class ticket ($2,000 value) from Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) to Warszawa, Poland (WAW).
Just between those two flights what I’ve learned from Chris is worth ~$7,000. But I still have more miles to use!
Here is my current mileage balance even after those two massive deductions:
Screenshot taken on March 30, 2010. Click to view full size.
As you can see that’s a remaining balance of 191,316 airline and hotel miles!
For reference, and so you know I’m not bullshitting you, I purchased the Unconventional Guide To Discount Airfare (since discontinued) and Travel Ninja on February 17, 2009:
Click to view the full size image
And most recently I purchased Frequent Flier Master:
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Following Chris’s advice I feel like I’ve got the mileage earning game figured out. But Frequent Flyer Master goes far beyond just earning ridiculous amounts of miles to the area I’m still figuring out: redeeming mileage for great award tickets.
And the Mileage Redemption half of the book is where I really learned a lot:
- What you’ll need to do 50% of the time to get a specific award ticket. It’s simple, but it’s something that most of us (myself included, before now) wouldn’t bother with.
- The risky, but doable, wait-list strategy. How to get your desired award ticket by getting wait-listed on a less desirable ticket.
- Which airline offers regular return (i.e. roundtrip) flights for just 15,000 miles.
- When to book seats to have the easiest shot at a desired ticket.
- The secret of the “ghost reservation.” This costs an extra $25-$50 but could very well be worth it in a pinch.
- The “hub strategy” when booking tickets to Europe or Asia.
And then some …
What’s Wrong With Frequent Flyer Master?
You know what I hate? Reviews that are obviously biased and don’t point out anything negative.
The truth is Frequent Flyer Master isn’t perfect. While I did learn a ton about award redemption I’m still confused by certain aspects of it. Mostly I’m confused about earning miles in one mileage program but finding available award flights on a different partner airline. I know this is advanced and maybe Chris didn’t get into too many specifics because it would go over our heads, but I’d still like it explained.
Also, as far as mileage earning: the strategies work best if you’re from the United States. I would actually go so far as to say don’t buy Frequent Flyer Master unless you’re in the US.
What You Get With Frequent Flyer Master
- A 40 page travel hacking manual.
- A 20 minute audio about mileage earning and redemption.
- A Priceline Booking Strategies download. This wasn’t written by Chris, and I haven’t used the strategy myself (I stay in Hostels/Guest Houses/Apartments/Couches), but it looks really sweet if you want to get great hotels for cheap prices.
- At least 6 free updates over the next 6 moths.
Why You Should Buy Frequent Flyer Master
For 49 dollars (the price of Frequent Flyer Master ) you’re looking at a guaranteed free roundtrip domestic ticket or Chris will give you your money back. Or, if you really take action on what you learn like I did, you’ll be looking at multi-thousand dollar international Business Class tickets for just the cost of taxes. Considering I’ve spent less than $125 total (as shown in the receipts above) on Chris’s travel products I think I’ve come out on top.
Want to fly free? Click here to check out Frequent Flyer Master. That’s all it boils down to.
In case that wasn’t clear: if you’re in the US and you want to fly free at least once (domestically or internationally like me) within the next year, you should invest in the $49 Frequent Flyer Master guide by clicking here now.
Note: Frequent Flier Master been essentially turned into the Travel Hacking Cartel. You might want to check that out instead. Click here to get in at $1 for 14 days.
As you know I don’t recommend many products, but I highly recommend this one.