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1 Hour of Travel Hacking = $3,400

People sometimes ask if travel hacking is worth the hassle. Doesn’t it take away time you could spend on other projects? Is that time investment really worth it? Truth be told, once in a while I wonder the same thing… I’ve got no shortage of opportunities to pursue these days, with a book to write,…

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Frequent Flyer Master Reviews and a Note from Armenia

Greetings from the Caucasus, where I’m wrapping up my two weeks of travel in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and now Armenia. I’ll post more on the trip at some point, but this afternoon I’m getting ready to begin the long journey home (EVN-VIE-FRA-DEN-PDX). My first flight departs Yerevan at the lovely hour of 5:45 a.m. tomorrow, but…

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Business Week, Ass-Kicking, and the Upcoming ‘Frequent Flyer Master’ Project

Greetings, friends and readers. I’m back from the Oregon coast with only a couple of domestic trips planned for October. Earlier this week I published an article for Business Week on How to Negate the Competition by Owning Your Space. I always appreciate the chance to write for traditional magazines and newspapers, and I wish…

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1,670,000 Frequent Flyer Miles

Late last fall, I was in need of a new source of Frequent Flyer Miles. I used to earn at least 200,000 miles a year from small business spending, but as I transitioned to full-time writing, the regular addition of miles fell to a couple of thousand a month.

A couple thousand miles a month adds up to a free domestic ticket every year, but most of the Awards tickets I use require redemptions of 90,000 miles or more, so that doesn't help much.

I did what I always do in these situations - I broke down the problem into logical reasoning:

The Problem: No longer earn hundreds of thousands of free miles each year

The Stipulation: Want to avoid flying long-haul Economy class whenever possible

The Concern: Can't pay $4,000 for Business Class tickets, unless it's a Round-the-World flight where I'll get excellent long-term value

The Solution: Therefore, I need to replenish my mileage account some other way

(This is how I usually process problems I run into, on the assumption that there is almost always an alternative way to accomplish something.)

That's when I decided to conduct a personal experiment with credit cards and mileage bonuses. Over the course of a few weeks, I applied, was approved for, and received 13 new credit cards. I applied for the cards only to get the miles, but I made sure to fulfill all the requirements to ensure my eligibility.

Somewhat to my own surprise, it worked - I earned just under 300,000 Frequent Flyer Miles in a few short weeks. To be fair to all of you, I decided not to keep the news to myself. I published the full story of each credit card I applied for, how I tracked the cards through a spreadsheet, and set a goal of helping at least 100 readers earn at least 50,000 Frequent Flyer Miles of their own.

Recently, a few people have been asking... what's happened? How many miles are we up to?

We didn't get to 5 Million Miles in 30 days, my original goal. But that's OK - we're well beyond 1 million now, and new miles keep posting every couple of days.

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5 Million Frequent Flyer Challenge: Update #2

If you haven’t seen the Frequent Flyer Challenge before, read these posts first: The Original Post The First Update *** Here’s the Second Update Hi everyone – after traveling through Cambodia and Laos last week (trip report coming on Thursday), I’m transiting back through Bangkok before going on to Bangladesh, the final stop on this…

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5 Million Frequent Flyer Challenge: Update #1

Greetings, friends. Today I have an update on the Frequent Flyer Challenge, coming to you live from the Hong Kong airport: First, a good news / bad news personal update. The Bad News – After flying 19 hours, I slept on the airport floor for five more hours last night. It just didn’t make sense…

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