Do you want to improve your Travel Hacking? Then you need this ultimate list of top travel hackers!
If you have dabbled with airmiles or hotel rewards and maybe even benefitted from a few free hotel nights or a flight upgrade, you may find yourself wondering if you are missing a trick. Are you making the most of ALL those travel hacking opportunities?
It took me around a year to earn enough miles for my first business class flights, but I wasn’t content to fly business once a year, only to then fly economy on all my other flights during the year. Once you’ve flown business once, you feel pretty disgruntled heading back to cattle, so I embarked on a journey to fast-track reward collecting with the goal of never flying long-haul economy again.
With a little help from a posse of top travel hackers, here is what I found.
Seeking travel hacking resources…
A quick Google search for ‘earn more AVIOS’ (British Airways/OneWorld rewards), revealed ‘How to Become a TravelHacking Ninja.’ Um, interesting! After all, who wouldn’t want to be a ninja? But a travel hacking ninja? That sounds pretty illegal!
Until then, I had no idea that travel hacking was the term used to describe the ‘very legal’ art of using airline and hotel rewards to fly free, upgrade to business or stay in luxury hotels around the world for FREE! Rest assured, you won’t be straying into potential jail territory if you engage in this activity.
Where are all the UK Top Travel Hackers?
In the US, there are plenty of top travel hackers with travel sites dedicated to demystifying the practice, whether it be earning free hotel nights or flight upgrades. In the UK, not only are the credit card options less attractive and less abundant but so are the sites dedicated to helping you. In short, where are the UK’s top travel hackers hanging out?
For that matter, what about top travel hackers from Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe?
Having had a lot of questions from people in India, I can confirm that they also seem to have the same problem, and as for Europe, well it too is something of a barren, travel hacking desert.
So this post aims to bring you the ultimate list of top travel hackers from around the world. Don’t worry if there isn’t a dedicated site in your country (you aren’t alone!) as many of the principles will apply wherever you are on the planet.
Alternatively, you could always start your own site, after all that is how Travel The Globe 4 Less came about!
WARNING: This post is long but there’s plenty of headings and sub-headings to help you skim to the most useful bits for you, so let’s get started! You could also bookmark it so you can return again and again!
UK Top Travel Hackers
I will be honest. There aren’t many but let’s start with the granddaddy of sites (no reference to your age Rob!)
Head For Points
Rob’s site is truly awesome and his AVIOS Redemption University is my go to place for any information related to points redemptions.
Not only that, but he has a hugely loyal following who comment in droves on his site, giving you even more opportunities to find lots more tips and tricks. Sign up for his updates without delay. You will not regret it!
Inside Flyer UK
Inside Flyer UK is a new addition to the UK scene, having launched in November 2015. It is the love child of Inside Flyer sites in the US and Europe, and as such is jam packed full of travel hacking expertise including hotels, airlines, trains and a forum.
I’ve just signed up to the forum, so come on over for a chat, or feel free to follow me at TTGLOBE4L or you can ignore me (yes, that is an option!). I would prefer a follow though, after all we travel bloggers are sensitive souls!
Miles From Blighty
Mark from Miles From Blighty is part of the acclaimed Boarding Area team and claims an old world view of travel. He covers hotels and airlines from a British perspective yet it is the first time I have come across Mark’s site. It contains some great information, so I hope my undertaking this research is proving as beneficial for you as it is for me.
And then there’s me, the new kid on the block, dedicated to spreading tips for achieving luxury travel for less money. My Business For Less series shows you how you to fly business class for less than economy. Be sure to check that out, and if you want lots more tips, sign up for updates or follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
So, as you can see, there is not a huge amount of choice for UK residents with just four dedicated sites.
There are, however, a few other sites which offer some advice in this area which may be worth bookmarking.
Other UK Travel Hacking Resources
Monica has travelled extensively since exploring Australia in a camper van shortly after leaving University. She’s now embarking on a different journey, that of motherhood, but that is not getting in the way of her travel plans, and little George has already become a very stylish jetsetter. He shares his travel hack tips too!
You may find a familiar face on Monica’s site as I’m the resident travelhack expert there, so if you want yet more tips, sign up for Monica’s updates too.
Although Indiana Jo might sound like she hails from across the pond, Jo is originally from London, and has written posts on the use of credit card travelhacking. She shares her candid experience of whether travelhacking worked for her.
TravelDave has been travel blogging since 2005 and his site considers many ways to save money when travelling, rather than having a pure focus on travelhacking.
Check out his bookshelf which includes beginners guides to couchsurfing, travel hacking and travelling the world! If you too happen to be a travel blogger, he also has some great blogging tips for you.
Nomadic Matt sought input from UK top travelhackers for a number of posts, and for this reason he earns his stripes as a UK top travel hacker. I am sure such a well travelled chappy won’t mind being an honorary brit for a while!
You can also check out his site for lots of help for US residents include the aforementioned ‘Ninja‘ guide and other useful e-books.
European Top Travel hackers
Boy I had to search hard for these babies but the font of all knowledge, Boarding Area, a collaboration of awesome travel bloggers, came up trumps, revealing these European top travel hackers.
Economy Class and Beyond
Kevin from Economy Class and Beyond is clearly an IT genius as he manages to update his blog two to three times a day and hold down a full-time job!! OMG please tell me your secret Kevin!
His site has a focus on European and UK aviation news, including airline and lounge reviews and earns its place in the hall of travel hacking fame for this reason.
You Have Been Upgraded
You Have Been Upgraded is a German site with an emphasis on hotel reviews and airline lounges. Unfortunately, my German is pants so I cannot translate!
It doesn’t seem to have a huge travel hack focus. However, I have included it because it is one of the scarce resources I have found for Europe (excluding the UK). If anyone who speaks German wishes to provide some additional colour, be my guest!
EU Flyer aims to educate Europeans about ways to earn and redeem good value frequent flyer points. The site has dedicated Miles and More and Air Malta sections, plus updated offers showcasing ways to earn more points. How the hell have I not found this site before?
Fammi Volare is an Italian language, frequent flyer site. Unfortunately, I also lack linguistic ability in Italian but there definitely seems to be a strong airline focus, so unless anyone tells me differently Fammi stays in the list of European top travel hackers.
US Top Travel Hackers
US residents are seriously spoiled for choice as the market for US travel hacking sites is huge. I have no plans to bore the pants off you by providing an overview of each one, so here is the deal.
I have selected a handful of my top travel hackers (either because I use them regularly, they have a unique selling point or because they offer some excellent tools for you to use!). The rest, I have simply listed so you have one complete list of resources without lots of repetition as many of the sites have similiar offerings.
There are tons of travel sites which have the odd travel hacking post but I have excluded these, instead focussing on those which have a real emphasis on providing regular, travel hacking content. Apologies if you have a US travel site and feel you have been wrongly excluded but feel free to email me with details of your site if you would like it included.
Flyertalk is the largest US travel community and an absolutely epic resource packed with forums, up to date articles and lots of information to help you earn more miles. Sign up for FREE to tap into all the latest hotel and flight reward news.
The site also includes dedicated sections for each airline and hotel chain allowing you to easily find what information you need.
The Forward Cabin
Jamie of The Forward Cabin has been travel hacking since he was a teenager and managed to bag First Class tickets to Europe. Luckily for him, his father’s airmiles were about to expire, and go to waste so he managed to snaffle them for his trip to Europe. (OMG how awesome is that? My friends would never have heard the end of it!).
He’s keen to stress he isn’t rich but that that taste of luxury inspired him to get into travel hacking so he could continue to fuel his travel interest. We have something in common straight off the mark!
He has a special interest in Amtrak and Kimpton Hotels and makes regular appearances on Fox News as an expert travel hacker.
Frequent Flyer Master
Chris Guillebeau is the Frequent Flyer Master. At the risk of sounding like a groupie, I love Chris. Not only does he really know his stuff but he is such a lovely, down to earth guy who takes time to respond to comments and Tweets. What a sweetie!
He hosts regular classes on Creative Live promoting travel hacking which gives you plenty of opportunity to ask questions directly related to your circumstances.
His site really kicks travel hacking ass!
Jackie is the GlobeTrottingTeacher, and yes you have guessed it, she is a teacher who uses miles to travel the globe 4 less. She shares a ton of tips for hotel and flight rewards which help to prove that you do not have to be a millionaire to travel frequently.
She will also soon feature in my #TravelHackThursday special so be sure to check that out to learn more of Jackie’s top travel hacker tips.
The Honeymoon Guy
Michael (aka The Honeymoon Guy) is the romancer of the bunch. Left in charge of planning the honeymoon (wow his wife is very trusting!), Michael planned the best honeymoon ever saving over $37,000 on their dream trip. Their round the world trip included stops in Maui, the Philippines, Tokyo and South Africa, virtually all paid for using miles and points. (If I were single, I think I would want to marry him, such a good job job he did!)
Michael now uses his knowledge to help others plan an epic honeymoon, an unforgettable trip or ‘champagne travel on a beer budget.’
Mike Choi runs IFlyWithMiles, a specialist travel agency with expertise in helping you redeem frequent flyer miles. Whilst not strictly an information source, for those who simply cannot be bothered doing the grunt work themselves, it is worth knowing about this service.
The company charges a flat fee per redemption.
Magic of Miles
Melinda, of Magic of Miles is a self-proclaimed military brat who offers helpful hotel and trip reviews, pictures, promotions and tips for those planning a trip, looking for inspiration or wanting to learn how to save on travel costs.
Military Frequent Flyer
Keeping with the military theme, Glenn and Andy are the Military Frequent Flyer team with a unique proposition. They help the military make the most of their extensive travel by converting it into rewards allowing them to fly for free.
Now don’t let the fact that you may not be military put you off this site as they include lots of generic travel hacking advice which can benefit anyone.
Million Mile Secrets
MilMile Secrets is run by a formerly married couple, Daraius and Emily, who have earned and redeemed millions of airline miles and hotel points, most of which they acquired without flying or staying in hotels. They provide tons of tips for collecting and using miles showcased through their own personal stories.
Jake at Modhop offers a different take on frequent flyer perks by shooting “almost-pro” video to show you how much room you really get in premium, first, business or premium economy.
He aims to show you whether these travel upgrades are worth the extra cash, miles… or begging (ha ha, I love this comment on his website, maybe I should try that on my next British Airways flight).
One Mile at a Time
Ben Schlappig truly is the mad professor of travel hacking (sorry Ben, it is not personal). He takes the idea of being a plane spotter to an whole new level, spending hours every day jetting around the globe running up airmiles.
This may not be a realistic goal for many of us, and indeed not even an attractive prospect, but Ben shares his wealth of knowledge on the site. Thank god planes now offer Wi-Fi!
If you want to check out some seriously drool worthy pictures of suites on planes, Ben’s site is also the place to go!
The Points Guy
Brian Kelly is the Points Guy and with over 1.5 million unique views a month and a team of writers working with him, this site offers some top travel hacker insights.
Brian has been featured in over 100 publications including CNN, the Independent, the New York Times and Conde Nast, so he is something of a celebrity travelhacker!
The Points of Life
The Points Of Life promises an escape from the mundane with free first-class travel and complimentary suite upgrades in luxury hotels. It is a one stop shop for trip reports, guides and advice served with a unique topping of global, social, political, and economic insights gained from world travel. I may have to be keeping an eye on TPOL who recounts entertaining, anecdotal tales on his site.
Points With a Crew
Dan of Points with a Crew deserves an award! He has six (OMG, his poor wife!) children and discovered travel hacking as a means to allow he and his family to attend a family reunion which may not have been possible without the points.
He specialises in travel hacking for families, but I’m more fascinated with how his family manage the 17 suitcases he mentions on his website. I may not have a huge family, but I am going to be following this blog for the pure comedy factor, and should Fox turn his life into a travel reality show, that programme will be on my Sky Demand.
René has flown millions of miles with Delta, Northwest and other airlines and has been an elite Delta Medallion flyer for years. He often writes about Delta Air Lines and how frequent and not so frequent flyers can maximize points, upgrades and benefits.
He also shares mileage run stories such as his 2013 trip to Istanbul where he stayed for a grand total of 90 minutes, or a ten hour trip to Hawaii purely to earn 50,000 points.
Road Warriorette is not a dedicated travel hacking site but what makes it highly unusual is that it is written by a woman for women, mainly from a business travel perspective.
As someone who is away from home a lot with work, I love the concept behind this site, the female business wardrobe ideas, travel packing tips and of course the travel hacking ideas.
The Travel Codex (formerly Hack my Trip) covers everything from award flights to rental cars and is one of the most comprehensive sites around. It includes sections on award charts, loyalty programme comparisons, getting started and a lively forum.
The Travel Hacking Cartel
This is a travel hacking forum with a difference. It is a paid membership with three different levels of membership starting from $15 per month.
Membership includes access to a range of tutorials, and you can try it for 14 days for just $1. The Cartel guarantees that membership will earn you enough miles for four free flights a year which is a pretty strong claim.
I have my reservations about how much use I will find this as a Brit but I am taking the plunge (after all, it is only a $1, right?).
A quick search through the deals has already bagged me 100 Marriott Rewards points by connecting my social accounts and 1,000 Airmiles for signing up with Aegean although I have no idea how, or if I will be able to use them!
It is a little frustrating that deals cannot be searched by region, so if anyone is reading this from the Travel Hacking Cartel, please introduce that functionality. I found myself having to scroll through endless pages of deals I could not access as I am not resident in the US or Canada!
Travel is Free
Travel is Free has dedicated sections on individual hotel groups and airlines and shares lots of tips on how this couple travel the world for free. As enticing as this may sound, BEWARE, for UK visitors travel hacking flights are never free due to levied taxes and fees. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!
You can, however definitely earn FREE hotel nights so do not despair.
Travelskills is Chris Mcginnis who has been offering money-saving, comfort-enhancing travel advice (with a business travel bent) since 1990. He also founded the immensely popular #Travelskills Twitter Chat which takes place every Friday evening at 6PM UK so maybe I will bump into you there!
The View From The Wing
The View From the Wing is another information laden, dedicated travel hacking site. Gary, also one of the founders of Inside Flyer has been dubbed the ‘air genius’ and provides extensive coverage of hotel and airline rewards schemes.
With a background as a Chief Financial Officer in a University research department, he is certainly well qualified for the job.
Wandering for Good
Stephanie Zito is the face of Wandering for Good. You may have seen her in the recent Travel Hacking series she ran with Chris Guillebeau on Creative Live.
Her website isn’t solely dedicated to travel hacking however she does have a travel hacking section, and anyone who followed that series knows Stephanie is most definitely a top travel hacker.
Other US Resources
Here’s some other sites you may also wish to check out.
Angelina Travels is a points & miles fanatic who takes too many vacations. Find out how she visits dozens of countries without breaking the bank with her beginners tips
Deals we Like is the deal guru couple sharing frequent flyer and hotel reward tips
Dots, Lines and Destinations explore the world with points, miles and a bit of crazy
The Economical Excursionists showcases personal stories of this couple who have travel hacked through more than 40 countries
Extra Pack of Peanuts offers beginner and advanced travel hacking strategies to readers
Flight Leverage offers trip reports and mileage run examples to build your travel hacking arsenal
Free Frequent Flyer Miles is a resource derived from the 16 years of personal travel hacking experience of the author. Gary shares offers which are free or very cheap, along with tons of tips for racking up points.
FrequentMiler is another resource which helps you learn how to earn miles and points to travel for free
Frugal Travel Guy provides access to a Rookie Guide and bags of articles on airline alliances and award programmes
Inside Flyer is a frequent flyer resource packed full of information including a forum
Juicy Miles is a site dedicated to helping you redeem miles and offers a consultation service to take the hard work out of finding suitable flights.
Loyalty Traveller focusses on information relating to hotel and airline loyalty programmes, hotel deals and great value award stays
Michael W Travels offers frequent flyer information for budget travellers which makes a refreshing change
Miles to Memories shares tips for realising travel dreams for the least amount of money. What a cool idea!
The Miles Worker is a travel hacking blog written in Chinese (I think! Another language I am not familiar with)
Mommy Points is giving her family the world one point at a time and offers excellent frequent flyer toolkits
NerdWallet is a finance website with a dedicated credit card section, and within that, a dedicated airline/travel hacking section.
The Penny Hoarder is a site dedicated to money saving generally but includes travel hacking tips
Plane N Simple brings you hotel rewards and frequent flyer programme information
Points Centrix offers an award booking service, consultation service and tips on how to travel for free
Point Me To The Plane shares with you the juiciest points, miles and travel gossip! Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Points, Miles and Martinis focus on travel related topics including airline, hotel, car rental and credit card reward programs. Their goal is simply to help people travel better
Rapid Travel Chai offers tips for frequent travel for those with limited time. Surely that is most working Americans given the meagre amounts of paid holidays you guys get. Don’t be jealous now but as a Brit I get 29 days plus bank holidays!
Running with Miles is a man after my own heart, sharing tips for running more races in more places for less money
Travel Addicts is jam packed full of dedicated travel hacking advice including reviews of many frequent flyer programmes.
Travel Miles 101 offers a FREE course allowing you to learn everything you need to know to get started with travel hacking in the US
Travel With Grant offers a dedicated manufactured spending section for more ways to earn travel hacking points!
Triphackr is another blogger holding down a full-time job whilst travelling to over 80 countries using travelhacking techniques to fly for free
UnroadWarrior offers more practical tips for frequent flyers
Vosa offers a wealth of top travel hacker tips and first hand experiences in a colourful, easy to use dashboard. I really like this site and will be returning!
The Wandering Aramean offers more tips for frequent flyers
Zero to Travel has a focus on podcasts as well as travel hacking guides
Phew! Take a deep breath! You made it this far. Well done, as that really is an epic list of top US travel hackers!
I am sure you will agree, the US market offers a wealth of information for potential travel hackers, and there are some real characters amongst them. I hope you enjoy checking them out as much as I did!
Canadian Top Travel Hackers
Over the border in Canada, there are just a few travel hackers sites, all providing details of hotel and flight rewards. Here are the entries for Canadian top travel hackers.
Jeff of Canadian Kilometers offers advice for using frequent flyer miles and loyalty programmes to minimise travel expenses. He offers tip for acquiring miles at low cost and redeeming them for high value awards.
Canadian Travel Hacking
Canadian Travel Hacking provides advice on frequent flyer programmes and hotel rewards plus credit cards and a dedicated beginner’s section
Canadian Free Flyers
Canadian Free Flyers is my favourite out of the Canadian sites (sorry everyone!). I found the layout really inviting and loved the clearly labelled categories for free hotels and layovers.
You can subscribe for free and benefit from deals to your inbox. Paid subscribers can enjoy additional benefits, such as award booking assistance and tutorials, depending on the package chosen.
Don’t Call the Airline
Don’t Call the Airline helps people like you spend little to nothing on hotels and flights. It has a dedicated credit card section and award booking service costing $125CAD for the first two passengers and $75CAD per passenger thereafter.
Pointshoggers are three writers who provide information on all major loyalty miles and points programs in Canada. They also help Canadians maximize their rewards for every dollar spent on travel, everyday expenses, groceries and online shopping.
Asian Top Travel Hackers
Live From A Lounge
Ajay Awtaney‘s site is dedicated to travel hacking opportunities in India. This site is fantastic as there are plentiful opportunities in India to maximise reward points but most people who get in touch with me seem to be sadly unaware of these.
Live from a Lounge covers hotel, lounge and airline reviews as well as accumulating and redeeming points.
Australasia Top Travel Hackers
Australian Frequent Flyer
Australian Frequent Flyer is a travel hacking site which includes a forum, various tools and discussion boards.
PointHacks is very similiar and also includes a forum, plentiful tips and details of Meetups in Australia. It might be a little too far for me to go to attend one of their meetings!
So you can see there is not exactly a huge wealth of sites in Australasia either!
African Top Travel Hackers
Uugh sorry! It appears there is an opportunity here for someone! Where are the African top travel hackers, I wonder?
General Travel Hacker Resources
Flyermiler is a great resource which allows you to input where you want to go, and it will then work out your options and how many miles you need for each. It searches across all airlines quickly allowing you to see which airlines would appear to offer better value. I am finding this tool amazing!
Have I missed any other top travel hackers?
So as you can see, there are tons of US top travel hackers offering information to help you fly and stay for free, but very little for the rest of the world.
Maybe you know a top travel hacker who offers awesome advice? Maybe you have your own blog on this subject and think you deserve to feature? If so, please get in touch, or comment in the box below, as the top travel hacker list will benefit more people the more comprehensive it becomes.