We’ve spent the weekend at the sold-out 2012 FlyerTalk Chicago Seminars learning about how to travel for free using frequent flyer program hacks for air travel and hotel elite status programs. We were feeling pretty good about our 2012 free travel record before we arrived, estimating that we’d traveled for free about 40% of the time in 2012, and almost free another 15 to 20%. After an intense weekend of back-to-back workshops led by frequent flyer program veterans from FlyerTalk and/or the Boarding Area group, we came away with many more ideas about how to travel for free or get almost free air travel and hotel stays.
The majority of our 2012 travel has been road trips. After maxing out a somewhat paltry (at least by FlyerTalk and Boarding Area standards) frequent flyer award to get ourselves to Alaska, we’d been pretty lackadaisical (again by comparison with FlyerTalk and Boarding Area folks) about rebuilding our air travel points. Instead, I’d begun to work on building hotel elite status with a few mid-range loyalty programs, which had paid off nicely during our road trips in the U.S. and Canada. But with our move to Hawaii, we wanted to learn more about how to travel for free using our existing frequent flyer and hotel accounts or adding programs for air travel and elite level hotel stays.
We’ve got work to do! The Chicago Seminars were very information intense. Some of these people have encyclopedic knowledge about how to travel for free or nearly free. They’re achieving hotel elite and frequent flyer program status using a combination of methods including business travel, rewards from air travel loyalty programs and credit cards, combining and stacking points by tracking and planning their spending, and others. We’re looking forward to setting specific objectives and implementing what we can before our move. During our first few months in Hawaii, we’ll be fine-tuning in anticipation of more travel in the latter half of 2013.