How the Economical Excursionists find the best airmile rewards
I am so excited today to introduce LeAnna, one half of the EconomicalExcursionists (soon to become three when baby hack comes along in March!) who, with her husband, has been using travel hacking to find the best airmile rewards fund their travels around the globe.
While Andy finds the best airmile rewards and manages FlyerMiler, LeAnna pinches their pennies to make the rest of their travel cheap and affordable and then shares their experiences, finds, itineraries and other travel tidbits with the EconomicalExcursionists blog and community.
How a travel hacker hacks the system
Being a travel hacker means you know how to work the system. It means you know that you can get free flights and hotels in exchange for points that you earned on spending money the way you would have any other way….aka: FREE TRAVEL!
However, even travel hackers need to find a way to hack the game of travel hacking once in a while!
For example, last year, my husband and I went on a two month-long trip through Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In total, we had 28 flights so as you can imagine, it was essential we found the best airmile rewards.
Andy would spend days sitting at the computer scouring over award charts, routing options and availability. While we still believe in “Earning and Burning” we also use points similar to how we live life; we penny pinch…even on points.
After all, the more we can stretch out those points and bag the best airmile rewards, the more free flights we get, right? (Anne: I’m loving Andy already! Can you ask him to spread some of his magic to my husband as it is usually me who does the award analysis!)
Taking a typical routing or using points the way the airlines think most people will use them (For example: many people believe that if you have United miles, you must only fly with United: WRONG!) isn’t always the best usage of our miles.
After months of working and re-working routing plans and figuring out what alliances and odd-ball airlines used whose miles, Andy decided he needed to hack the travel hacking system.
Well, lucky for Andy, he is actually a (pretty genius) computer programmer (Ok, I may be biased…but when you look at his work, you no longer will think I am just gushing about my hubby!)
He said “FORGET THIS!” to all the hours, days and painstaking labor that it takes expert travel hackers to figure out the best airmile rewards and created the FlyerMiler.
You may have seen other points tools for flights, but spend just a mere 30 seconds on the FlyerMiler site and you will see why it is far superior to the wannabes, knock offs and other competition.
How it works
FlyerMiler is simple to use and when you aren’t sure what something means, you simply need to hover over what you are looking at or click the small question mark icon to see what it wants you to put in.
- Start with your origin and destination. You can also filter what kind of seating you prefer. Want to only fly business class? No problem! (Anne: Ha ha, think LeAnna has read my blog!)
- It will auto-populate almost ALL routes using points to get you to your destination. Use this to either figure out which points you need to collect (and how many) or look for the programs that you know you have points with.
- Click on a particular award program and then click the “Routes” tab. This will show you all the ways to use a particular award program’s points, flying with their alliances if possible, as well as actual routing options.
- Now that you know this information, you simply go to the airlines’ websites to search for availability and book!
NO more GUESSWORK.
NO more hours and hours spent trying to find the best airmile rewards.
VOILA – done in a matter of minutes for you! (And it’s free…who doesn’t love free!?)
Are you a beginner travel hacker?
Ok, so the FlyerMiler sounds great for those that have points and who understand alliances, but can it help the beginner travel hacker?
Not sure where to even start collecting points? No problem, FlyerMiler can get you on the right track.
Just watch this tutorial, which is a part of our free mini E-course “Five Days to Free Travel: How to become a Travel Hacker”
If you are a travel hacker, you are all about finding ways to work the system and FlyerMiler is just one more tool in your bag to help you get free flights without a ton of work, hassle…or money!
Have your say
Economical Excursionists love improving FlyerMiler to suit REAL travel hackers’ needs. If you have a question or idea on how to improve the FlyerMiler, please pop a comment below or email FlyerMiler at FlyerMiler@EconomicalExcursionists.com. We will see what we can do.
Musings from Anne
So there you have it. Some great tips on how to use this fabulous resource.
I came across FlyerMiler whilst conducting research for a recent post on the Top Global Travel Hackers. My only peeve is that I hadn’t come across it before as trying to figure out the best redemption or loyalty club can be a real minefield and this resource helps to take the hassle out of the research and find you the best airmile rewards with the least effort.
If you are only just starting out on your travel hacking journey this is also a great tool to use to figure out the best airmile rewards club and alliance to join. You can use thFlyerMiler with this handy infographic to make sure you get the best from your rewards.
Thanks go to LeAnna and Andy for sharing their insight. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them and their travel hacking successes, especially once they have bubba in tow! Here they are below. Aren’t they cute together?