Next week we’re finally going to launch the preboarding phase of my first major business project in nearly a year, the Travel Hacking Cartel.
On Monday I’ll tell you more about it, and on Tuesday we’ll offer a $1, 14-day trial to the first 1,000 people who manage to sign up. (After the preboarding phase, it will be available on a referral basis from existing members.)
But first! Let’s have some fun and give away a free trip.
I get a lot of questions about travel hacking, and many of them come from people who aren’t sure if it’s worth it. “Are miles really that valuable anymore? What if I don’t want to get a bunch of credit cards? If I don’t live in the U.S., can I still benefit?” Those are some of the questions that come up, over and over.
Last year I earned more than one million Frequent Flyer Miles, and I actually stopped pursuing most travel hacking opportunities while on my 53-city U.S. book tour.
Here’s an infamous screenshot of my April 2010 mileage balances from 10 accounts (I have a few others I haven’t linked in yet). Most of these miles were earned on the ground, without flying, and more than two-thirds were earned without credit card bonuses.
Earning the miles is fun, but using them is even better. Last year I redeemed 400,000 miles for my big trips to Kazakhstan, Belarus, Cameroon, Thailand, the Maldives, and multiple repositioning flights between Europe and the U.S.
Next month I’m flying to the Mideast to begin a Round-the-World trip. I used AA miles to book my Business Class flights on British Airways and Royal Jordanian. Cash price: $4,500. Price with miles: $84 in taxes. On the way I’ll layover in Heathrow at the Sheraton airport hotel. Cash price: $220. Price with Starwood points: free.
You can also see the proof in dozens (probably hundreds now) of stories of our readers who have similar reports of success. Use Google, use Twitter, go and ask them yourself.
The cartel will be helping lots of people take plenty of free trips on a regular basis. But before we open the doors to the masses next week, I wanted to help someone from our broader community get a free plane ticket to their choice of destinations.
This weekend I’ll be giving away 25,000 miles—enough for a free round-trip ticket on most airlines—to one of our readers who can use it for a good cause. (And going on an adventure, visiting friends, or just traveling to a new city is a good enough cause for me.)
‘Free Trip to Anywhere’ Giveaway! Here’s How It Works
The 25,000 miles will be redeemed for a round-trip Economy ticket in the winner’s name, valid anywhere within North America, anywhere within Europe, anywhere within Asia, or anywhere within Australia/New Zealand. I’ll select the airline depending on the winner’s preferred itinerary, and it will be a major worldwide carrier (no budget airlines or Southwest tickets here).
The winner needs to:
a) Work with me to make the reservation with my miles (very easy; I’ll explain exactly what to do and it won’t take long)
b) Go on the trip within the next six months (because miles should be used, not hoarded)
c) Take pictures and report back to us with a blog post or video update when he or she gets back
That’s it. If you win, I’m giving you 25,000 miles, I’ll make the reservation for you, and I’ll even pay the taxes. (You’re on your own if you need to pay to check bags, or pay for anything else that comes up on the actual trip.)
Post a Comment to Enter
Please post a short comment on this post saying where you’d like to go and why. By entering the contest, you agree that you really will go on this trip if your entry is the winner.
Our usual biased judges, including my furry assistant Libby (and other more helpful friends), will select one person for a free trip. As the comments are posted, you can also “vote” for another entry if you’d like—but as with any benevolent dictatorship, the judges will have the final say.
That’s it! See you next week with more on the Travel Hacking Cartel… and good luck. The deadline for comments is Friday at 17:00 PST.
If the biased judges choose your entry, where will you use your free trip?
UPDATE: Thanks, everyone! We’ll announce the winner on Monday.