Welcome to Travel Hack Thursdays, (#TravelHackThursdays) a new feature, aiming to demonstrate that you don’t need to be rich, or constantly circumnavigating the globe, to build a substantial air mile balance.
Hear from savvy travellers, just like you, who have learned the art of travel hacking, and either fly for free, or in stylish business or first class.
It’s much easier than you think, and we (me and my fabulous contributors) are here to show you exactly how. This series will ask the questions you really want to ask, but probably think too rude.
In the interests of research, I plan to risk being maimed, abused or downright humiliated; all in my quest to help you see that business class fights are within your grasp.
To get things started, I will be answering the very same questions I will be posing of my featured travellers. It’s only fair right?
So here goes….
Are you rich?
Absolutely not! I come from a working class background where my parents made ends meet being cautious with money. I was the first person in our family to go to University (a major coup as far as my father was concerned!), and the only one who seems to have the wanderlust gene.
Summer holidays as a child were a very British affair, consisting of buckets and spades on the beaches of Scarborough and Bridlington (I guess if it was good enough for the Victorians, it was good enough for us!), knickerbocker glories, and fish and chip lunches.
We went abroad just once, getting up at the crack of dawn to board a coach to the South of France. Far from being bored on the journey, I was fascinated. France in the 1980s seemed exotic and colourful, with warm azure seas, cafes dedicated to crepes (pretty cool for an eight year old!) and fizzy Orangina to boot.
How did you discover travel hacking?
A colleague of mine, Jeff, happened to mention how he was using a British Airways credit card to fly business class.
He explained about the use of companion vouchers, and piqued my interest sufficiently that I was inspired to find out more. I’ve not looked back since!
Where did you go on your first long haul flight booked using air Miles?
I went to Tokyo, from Heathrow. Talk about arriving revived!
I have since discovered that you can add a connecting flight from Manchester to Heathrow for no additional points, so if you would prefer to fly from a local airport, I recommend checking the different options before booking.
How many points did you use?
I used 100,000 points and a companion voucher for two flights. It also cost around £1,000 in taxes and fees, which is less than the price for two economy class flights.
Whilst I can redeem points for economy flights, it really doesn’t represent good value because the bulk of the price for UK originating flights is the tax and fees! The only exception is some of the short haul Europe offers which have set taxes.
How long did it take you to accumulate the points?
Around ten months, although it is taking me considerably less time now, as I’ve learned more ways to earn.
Virtually every penny I spend earns me AVIOS, and I’ve managed to earn around 120,000 points in the last eight months.
What are your tips for anyone else wishing to do the same thing?
Check out my Luxury For Less Series on how to fly business for less than economy obviously!!
If I had to pick just one thing though, I would focus on credit card recycling. This is finding credit cards with large sign up bonuses, then cancelling them once you have earned the bonus. Move on to the next card, and repeat.
Read More: Fast Track to Business Class
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?
I don’t fly business every time, preferring to save my points for the long haul flights. For short haul, the lack of leg and arm room is bearable, and I’m less inclined to turn up at the airport early enough to indulge in the lounge.
For long haul flights, the ability to relax in the lounge, maybe even indulging in a massage, skip the queues at check in and boarding, and be greeted with champagne onboard, all remove the stress from travelling.
Being able to arrive at the destination, having enjoyed a snooze in a flatbed, means I’m able to get out and explore much sooner. I have an insatiable desire to hit the streets as soon as I arrive in a new city, and not being knocked for six by jetlag and sleep deprivation is a huge bonus.
It also helps that I can bring two suitcases all for myself….a girl never knows when she might want to shop!
If you enjoyed this, or know anyone who might like to be featured, please share with your pals!! Sharing is caring!
[bctt tweet=”Top Travel Hackers Needed To Share Their Mile High stories #TravelhackThursdays”]