Earn 500000 airmiles in six months
Ok, so you have established that you can spend a £1,000 a month on credit cards (see step one for a reminder as to why this is so important). In that case, travel hacking in the UK could work for you. Remember however, the real benefit to earning air miles in the UK is not to use them for short haul economy flights. After all, you can book those on budget airlines and even though you might save a little using air miles, it won’t justify the effort. If you follow this guide however and rack up your own 500000 airmiles, frankly you can do what you like with your points.
Why bother travel hacking in the UK?
The benefit of travel hacking in the UK is to allow you to redeem miles for long-haul flights in business or first class for a similar price (or less) than economy flights. If you aren’t bothered about flying business or first, I strongly urge you to focus your energies elsewhere. Although, why wouldn’t you want to fly business class or first class if it costs you less or the same as economy class? After all, we all deserve a treat occasionally!
Real life travel hacking SOS
You may recall that this whole challenge came about because of a step by step guide I was providing for my friends Michala and John. In their first three months of following this process, they accumulated 121,000 points. Since then, their balance has sky-rocketed to 496,870 miles. Wow, I must be a seriously awesome teacher….even I was astonished by that haul!
They have booked their first business class flights too! Yes, we are all heading to Croatia in business class next summer. Whilst I don’t normally advocate using airmiles for short-haul, we are accumulating points so quickly that we can afford to burn some on this indulgence!
So, how did they rack up these points this quickly?
Simple, by following the steps I outlined in step one and then moving on to this step.
Step two: get your AMEX Gold Card
Sign up for the AMEX Gold card. This is a great card to allow you to quickly rack up points without incurring an annual fee. Sign up using this link here and you will earn an extra 2,000 membership rewards when you spend £2,000 in two months.
That will give you a starting balance of 22,000 reward points for your sign-up bonus, plus 2,000 as every £1 spent on the card earns you one membership reward. You also get two free lounge access passes for days when you are not flying business class but would like to enjoy some luxury without paying for lounge access.
I cannot emphasize enough, however, how important it is that you fulfil the minimum spend requirements. Whilst you will earn one reward for every £1 you spend regardless, you will have to spend £22,000 to achieve the same number of points that you earn from your sign-up offer. When you satisfy the minimum spend of £2,000, you will instead earn 24,000 points. Now that’s a hell of a difference!
If you do that twice a year for both you and your partner (assuming you are not happily solo) then you will have a whopping 96,000 airmiles from just £8,000 spend. That’s enough to book you long-haul business class flights for two once you have a companion voucher (more about that in future updates). If you are travelling solo, you will be good to go!
What’s so good about this card?
This card is free in the first year. There is a charge of £140 in the second year, but to maximise airmiles, I always recommend achieving the minimum spend, banking the points and cancelling the card. This allows you to rinse and repeat!
If you want to know the ins and outs of all the UK airline credit card options, you can check out my post on the best UK airline credit cards. Be warned, options are becoming more and more limited due to EU changes in the Interbank transfer rate.
The AMEX Gold card also rewards holders with referral points. For every friend you recommend who signs up, you will earn an additional 9,000 reward points. Sadly, you are limited to a maximum of 90,000 in any one year. However, following the strategy above you could earn an additional 360,000 reward points every year if you are collecting points as a couple.
Frankly, at that point, you can blow your rewards on any destination as you will be struggling to redeem them quickly enough! I literally have booked half a dozen flights in the last 12 months using airmiles I have earned on the back of referrals.
How to encourage referrals
During the two months that you are merrily satisfying the sign-up requirement, you need to shout from the rooftops to everyone you know to encourage them to sign up for the card. I’m not going to lie to you, this will be no simple feat. Getting people to act can be a challenge but get them reading these posts and it should become a damn sight easier for you!
Perhaps you could encourage them, by suggesting a group trip with those same people who signed up using your referral link. Let’s be fair, that’s how I finally persuaded Michala and John to start collecting rewards. Michala may not like the hassle of the planning but she sure likes living the life of a king and queen, as you can see from this picture. (She may well kill me for this one!)
One small side note is that John seems to have been able to earn more than ten referrals which contributed to their 500000 points haul in less than six months. I can’t guarantee that you will be equally lucky but I also appear to have had more than ten referrals.
Seriously though, this travel hacking is easy if you follow these simple guides.
So, here’s your action plan.
- Sign up for the referral link
- Spend £1,000 a month on the card in your first two months
- Encourage as many of your friends as possible to sign up for the card using your referral link. Email me if you struggle with this as I may be able to help.
- Once you have satisfied the minimum spend on the card, refer your partner and get them to do the same.
What do I do with the Gold card then?
If you are wondering what you do with the gold card then, you have two choices.
- You can cancel it straight away and possibly lose the benefit of your two lounge passes. For me personally, I would rather cancel as soon as I have satisfied the spend. The more rewards I earn, the more I fly business and the less I need a lounge pass as I get that included in my business reward flight. This will ensure you can repeat the whole cycle sooner as you must allow six months between closing an account and opening a new referral link.
- Or, use the lounge passes and then cancel. This may mean you are unable to earn rewards as quickly as it all depends on how long it takes you to use the points.
Would you like some travel hacking coaching?
If these mini-guides are still not enough for you, and you would like to sign up for a personalised 12-month travel hacking programme, please get in touch. Assuming you can spend a minimum of £1,000 a month on credit cards I guarantee that you can earn a minimum of 50,000 points as a singleton or 100,000 as a couple. That’s being ultra conservative. If you follow all my guidance you will be able to earn considerably more than that as Michala and John clearly demonstrate.