Welcome to Travel Hack Thursday, (#TravelHackThursday) a regular feature, aiming to demonstrate that you don’t need to be rich, or constantly circumnavigating the globe, to build a substantial air mile balance.
If it’s your first visit to Travel Hack Thursday, and you want to know more, hop over to Introducing Travel Hack Thursday.
Welcome Expert Travel Hacker Jeff
Otherwise let’s get started. I’m so excited to introduce this week’s expert travel hacker Jeff, a fellow Yorkshireman and colleague. You may have heard wicked rumours that Yorkshire people are very ‘careful’ with their money. It may not therefore surprise you that he is an expert at bagging a business class flight.
Jeff and I share a number of loves, including skiing, partying (he is an expert at that too!) and travelling. Here he is with me on a work convention to New Orleans last year.
Jeff was the person who first introduced me to the travel hacking concept. I’m sure he has no idea there is actually a technical term for this art. He probably thinks travel hacking is illegal, and whilst a little bit of a cheeky chappie, I don’t think he would actually break the law. Then again, he definitely has a mischievous side, as you can see from these pictures.
Source: Jeff Lee
So let’s ask this week’s expert travel hacker a few questions.
Jeff are you rich?
Absolutely not! I am a middle Manager for a life insurance company. I am by no means poor, but I would not dream of travelling business class, were it not for the wonders of the British Airways Credit Card.
How did you discover travel hacking?
I have been doing this for so long now, I honestly can’t remember. I used to travel a lot on internal flights to Edinburgh and London with British Airways, and suspect I probably succumbed to their advertising when they first launched the card. It seemed almost too good to be true, but is one of the few “freebies” that isn’t!
Where did you go on your first long haul flight booked using reward points, and how many points did you use?
The first long haul business class flight we booked, using the British Airways Frequent Flyer program, was to Antigua. The cost was 100,000 miles, plus taxes (around £300 at the time).
Since then, we have been to St Lucia, Denver (skiing), Los Angeles and Las Vegas, all for a similar amount of points, although inevitably the tax cost has increased threefold!
This month, we have just received confirmation of another companion voucher, so we are planning our next exotic business class trip as I type!
Anne: You can definitely see that Jeff and Mrs Lee enjoy the high life. All very glamourous destinations indeed! I’m sure he will be making me green with envy when he uses that voucher – he booked Mexico by the way!
How long did it take you to accumulate the points, and what methods did you use?
Because I was flying a lot with British Airways internally at the time, and using my British Airways card for company expenses, it took only a year. Nowadays, because British Airways do not have as many internal flights from Manchester, and I’m not flying as much, it takes a little longer.
I have purchased Avios on occasions to speed up the process, and I still think this represents value for money. Having just subscribed to your website however Anne, I am now aware that there are so many other ways to “earn” Avios and I will be taking advantage of them more in future.
What are Jeff’s tips for anyone else wishing to do the same thing?
Use every possible means to accumulate Avios, but as a financial services professional, always remember to pay off your credit card in full!
And finally, what’s so great about business? Why aren’t you happy to just slum it in cattle with the rest of us mere mortals?
The whole experience is just so pleasurable. From checking in without queues, to the business class lounge, the priority boarding and most importantly for my wife, the flagons of free champagne. The list goes on – excellent service, quality food, entertainment, flat beds for quality slumber, and the fact that you disembark first to avoid immigration queues.
Your luggage comes off first so less waiting around too. The whole thing is so good, that we contemplated just going there and back on a flight once to avoid hotel accommodation costs!
Anne: Well if that isn’t an endorsement for upgrading, I do not know what is! Thanks go to our expert travel hacker Jeff for sharing his story, although I am not sure I believe that it is Julie who is demanding the champagne!
Read More: A – Z of AVIOS
If you want to head to Las Vegas for a splurge like Jeff and Julie, and don’t yet have enough Avios, or a companion voucher, be sure to check out some great deals on Skyscanner! Skyscanner sources the entire market, and if you do book with an airline that you have reward membership for, just add the reference number to your account after booking. If you are planning to redeem Avios you will need to do so via the British Airways or Avios sites.
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