Travel hacking is a term that is all over the Internet right now, and I was feeling a little left out having never even joined a frequent fliers program. With the amount of flights I’ve taken, I shudder to imagine how many miles I would have racked up but instead left wasting.
So, when I came across a fellow alumni of OSU with a book called “Get Free Flights”, I thought this is my opportunity to learn the tricks! So I have been reading, researching, and going through Bryce’s material. I want to share with you the benefits of this book…
…and a little present ;)
Bryce has a background in finance so delves into travel hacking from a unique perspective. So confident in his book’s value, he has a refund policy: if you don’t get a free round-trip domestic flight using his tips, you will get your money back.
Recently, Bryce has made it big being asked by ABC for an interview and he’s starting to be featured just about everywhere. His book is starting to make huge waves.
Did I mention he got 7 guys $7 flights to vegas for his bachelor party?!
Let’s pick the travel hacking pro’s brain:
Interview with Bryce, Writer of Get Free Flights
What is Travel Hacking?
Travel hacking is essentially a method of traveling for free/cheap by taking advantage of frequent flyer mile promotions. Travel hackers find ways to earn tons of frequent flyer miles with minimal effort and redeem them to book flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. for pennies on the dollar. The time commitment is completely up to you. Even a very minimal effort could earn 3 to 4 free domestic flights each year.
According to your book- shopping, eating out, or just spending money anywhere helps me earn flights?
That’s right! Using rewards credit cards will help you earn frequent flyer miles for many of the purchases that you are already making. You’re already spending the money, so you might as well get rewarded for it.
What if someone is completely against credit cards or has too low of a score?
Not quite. In order to receive the signup bonus miles you will first have to meet the minimum spending requirement (if there is one). After doing that it will take about two to three weeks to get your miles.
What’s the BEST deal you’ve gotten by using travel hacking?
A lot of them come to mind but the best one would have to be the American Express Business Gold Card. The card was offering a signup bonus of 75k points, which I used to book 2 round trip flights to Hawaii in April for my fiance and I to go on our honeymoon. The flights would have cost about $1,000 each but we booked them for a total of $10.
If everyone starts travel hacking… won’t the airlines stop taking frequent flier miles? Maybe we should keep this a secret.
Shhhh, keep your voice down! The airlines might hear us! This is actually the most common question that I hear about travel hacking. To airlines, travel hackers are simply a cost of doing business. For every one travel hacker there are dozens of people who don’t know how to use their frequent flyer miles effectively.
My go-to card is my Charles Schwab ATM card, and I know loads of other travelers, bloggers, and my friends use it as well. It offers no foreign or domestic ATM fees, and any that you receive will be reimbursed at the end of the month. I’m not sure I can stop using this card daily. What advice do you have on this?
The Schwab ATM card is a great option for travelers. It’s my go to card for any place that doesn’t accept credit. The downside however is that you are not earning any sort of rewards by using it. I would recommend picking up some sort of travel credit card to compliment the Schwab ATM card. My personal favorite is the Chase Sapphire Preferred because it has great rewards and does not have any foreign transaction fees. Pair those two together and you have a rock solid combo fit for world travelers.
Review of ‘Get Free Flights’, the eBook
Anytime I’ve looked into travel hacking, I start reading thinking this is easy enough… inevitably, it starts to get complicated and I give up. I get lost in the specifics. I read Bryce’s book slowly and carefully, so I grasped what Get Free Flights was explaining.
I think once I sign up for my first card and start getting points, it will be a great reference to look back on. I definitely haven’t memorized the massive amount of information. He mentions another blog I follow, The Points Guy, as a resource in his book. Get Free Flights has it’s own blog as well with travel hacking information and personal finance.
The eBook was only 80 pages long and got straight to the point. It’s true that you can find a lot of this information online- but there are a million things I could find online but don’t because of laziness… when you have a book in front of you, you’re more likely to really focus and get into it. The compact precise material right on my tablet was unbeatable. I like it when people do the hard work for me.
It was a step by step guide to a free flight so you can go to Hawaii for free too!
photo from flickr
Starting from the introduction, Bryce gives exact detail into which cards to apply for, how to cancel without affecting your credit score, how affiliate programs work, and lots more.
He also warns what NOT to do. There are mistakes you can make that could affect your score or your increased spending and new credit cards could get you into debt. He also tells how to cheat the system with minimum spending requirement which is what I need being on such a small budget in India.
He includes appendixes with screen shots of more difficult online steps in travel hacking.
Not enough time in your day to travel hack?
I found that this book gave me the insight into how travel hacking can benefit me, but at the same time, I don’t have the time and energy now to do it myself. I’ve decided to take Bryce up on his consultation services.
That’s right… if you’re lazy- he will do it for you! It isn’t free, but hey- your flights, hotels, and even rental cars will be next to nothing. I follow his Facebook page and I just saw this week he booked someone a round trip flight to Europe for 120 bucks. In three years, Bryce hasn’t paid for a flight. I can get on board with that (I think that is my second pun, and it was unintentional! bam!)
On the Get Free Flights website, Bryce has all the updated deals and best offers on credit card spending rewards and sign-up bonuses. One of his favorites is the Chase Sapphire Preferred, so I’m going to start there when I go back to the US in May.
Is it right for you?
To know if this book and travel hacking is right for you, think about the reward. Free flights and hotels all over the world… I could fly home for a friends’ wedding, go to Sri Lanka for a week, fly to Nepal to trek… To succeed, you’ll have to keep your eye on the prize while you work to earn your points!
The only negative I thought wasn’t about the book itself, but travel hacking in general. It would be easy to lose track of cards you’ve signed up for (although you get a spreadsheet in the book to help you keep track). Also, to get spending points it’s easy to justify more spending. This dress is 200 dollars… but I’ll get so many points, it’s worth it! Not a good mindset but easily one I could fall into.
Bryce is giving a book away to one of my readers!
It’s a 14.99 value. If you aren’t the lucky winner, you can click here to buy. In case you haven’t seen a giveaway like this, it’s really simple- the more things you “do” the more entries you get to put in. By liking a FB page or following on twitter you get more chances of winning. I hope to give many more giveaway to you guys from here on out! Entering your e-mail here won’t spam you- it’s so I can contact the winner.
Since I’ve taken up Bryce on his consultation services, you can expect a post from me in the near future following up with how well that went and what awesome deal he helped me get.
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What an amazing resource! I am just building up my credit now to eventually be able to open up a miles card and start earning free flights. It’s such a process, but it will be so worth it once I hit that first free flight :). I’ll definitely be checking out Bryce’s book!
I’ve just now started too! I hadn’t even signed up for a frequent flier program. His book is really helpful :)
Ooh, awesome! On my wish list. And checking out both those sites….
great! I hope it helps.
Oooo this is a great post! A girl at work gave a little presentation on doing stuff like this, but it was hard to wrap my head around.
It can be hard to understand- you have to really focus while you read and even take a few notes!
I have several rewards cards, and one for an airline… and I’ve never used the rewards (gasp!). I’ll have to look into the book…. or maybe the consultation, I am obviously incredibly lazy about using the miles I’ve earned – but it seems so complicated to me! And I never seem to have enough miles for the flights I want… I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say about the consultation!
I’m looking forward to the consultation too! I’m also lazy about my miles, which is nuts considering I do anything I can to get double points at sephora.
I know his fiance now Wife amazing people and would love to know how to get a free flight somewhere
lovely! His book will help :)
This is amazing!! I have been trying for years to figure out how to work get cheap flights!! Thank you for this post!
your welcome, me too! we can both thank bryce :)
Thanks for this! I’m definitely going to check out Bryce’s site and see what all this is about. I have frequent flyer miles, but don’t really know what to do with them. And all this points stuff is confusing!
it is really confusing! Glad this book is appealing to you.
I use the United Mileage Plus Explorer Card – I got 50k miles for signing up, and another 10k or something for putting another person on the account, which I added my mom. So, I had 60k miles, which is the cost of a roundtrip flight between my home airports, Houston and Frankfurt!
damn you got a great deaL! that’s awesome.
Does the book focus only on credit cards available to Americans?
I too am keen to know the answer to this. I’m Australian.
I think it’s only US cards, but the cards part is just one chapter of the book.
hmm, actually I think it does. :(
I have had a credit card with travel rewards for years and I had no idea until about a year ago! I don’t have enough points to go anywhere overseas yet, because I wasn’t spending optimally to get the rewards, but point is, there could be rewards people have waiting for them that they just don’t know about! So yep, definitely it’s worth investigating what you can get, either with a current card or with a new card.
that’s great you have some points racking up.
I just booked my flights to Bangkok for 8 weeks time but didn’t really have a clue about frequent flyer etc…thanks for the info, I’ll definitely read up!
You can sometimes backtrack and claim miles.
This is really interesting Rachel. I really need to get up to date with all this travel hacking stuff haha. Justin builds up air miles on various some airlines own loycalty schemes when he travel for his job, but they take a while to add up. I really need to get one of those reward credit cards I’ve been reading so much about (well I mean I have credit cards but not one that earns me anything awesome like flights). I’m not sure if I can get one now because I don’t live or earn money in the country. What about in the US? Will you be able to get one if you don’t earn money there?
You can still get one I think- although I don’t spend enough yet to even make having a credit card worth while. I pay cash for everything in India. His book is more helpful for people living in the US and traveling abroad than expats- as travel hacking in general is.
Didn’t know about travel hacking! Thanks for the share!
no problem chels!
I’m glad I came across this. I racked up quite a bit of points on southwest by flying. I also earned some points by using hotels and surveys. I’m looking forward to earning some international flights!
Oooh I hope you earn a flight! thats great.
Thanks for the giveaway, I look forward to learning the tricks of the trade :)
Great, the book is really helpful.
This is such a useful post!! So far I have been collecting different points with random airlines but I bet I could join a program to consolidate all that or at least make a plan for using them. Thanks!!
yeah I think star alliance takes united and american.. there are 3 alliances I think.
Thank you for this post!! I could have hacked up (lol) soo many miles by now, like you, but it’s never to late to start! I’m anxious to delve into some more of Bryce’s tips and begin building up some rewards and miles!
Good luck!! :)