After all the recent news about the airlines, don’t you wish you didn’t have to fly at all? Or at least you didn’t have to actually pay to be treated like cattle? Me too.
I recently signed up to be an affiliate on for Chris Guillebeau’s website, the Art of Non-Conformity. I was digging around his ebooks and came across his newest one: Frequent Flyer Master. What piqued my interest (despite the name sounding a bit like something you’d see on a 2 AM infomerical) was that Chris was promising that anyone could gain enough frequent flyer miles to earn a free ticket (25,000 miles) by reading this ebook.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I had been thinking about my own frequent flyer status and how I should really get serious about my miles. The last time I even thought about my accounts was when, in a fit of frustration, I gave away all of my American Airlines miles to one lucky reader. But if it’s that easy to earn flights, maybe it’s time to dip my toe back in.
So I got a review copy. My first reaction: woah. Apparently, I have been doing it all wrong.
Without giving away too much, if you’re an active traveler and you pay for your flights– you’re doing it wrong too.
I started doing the math. If you made a few changes, took advantage of annual incentives by certain airlines and gained status with an airline or two (thereby increasing your per mile flown to per mile earned ratio), then I could see someone– especially a long term traveler or someone on a year abroad– racking in enough miles to fly dozens of times a year, absolutely free.
So why doesn’t Chris advertise this with his ebook? In part, I think he’s trying to undersell his product. But I also think he’s writing for a largely self-improvement, entrepreneurial, life-style redesign folks. He travels a lot, but his audience might not. For many of his readers, the idea of being able to bounce from LA to New Zealand to Thailand to Malaysia and back home again over a month is like, “so what?” If you’re not freed up to travel, the flight isn’t what’s holding you back. It’s vacation time or pets or family or a thousand other things.
But for travelers? It should be required reading. Not only do we fly enough to make getting free flights worth it, but we fly internationally. What fun is it to gain 300K miles if you don’t use it for a first class flight to Sydney? Or instead of buying that $5,000-$10,000 RTW ticket, you earn enough miles to get it for free?
The big catch? The ebook isn’t free.
Of course, most of the methods in his ebook are, and he’s bundled it with all of his other travel hack/airline type ebooks, so you get:
- The Frequent Flyer Master: which tells you how FF programs work and how to hack them
- The Travel Ninja: All about RTW tickets and long term travel
- Surviving Travel in North America: Getting free access to lounge access, tricks to booking cheap flights etc
- Using Priceline: Tips on how to get deals
- 2 audio tracks with questions and answers
- And a nifty excel spreadsheet all set up to track mileage, rewards, future trips, travel goals etc.
So there’s an incredible amount of value for $79. Which I know sounds like a lot. But, you have to do the math for yourself. Would getting a few free flights a year be worth it? Are you traveling now or planning to travel soon? Even if you only get one free ticket (which Chris has his famous money-back guarantee) then a ticket for $79 is a pretty good deal.
How will I use this new knowledge? First class tickets! I won’t be making as many short flights with the dogs, baby and husband in tow, but it would be very nice to have two 1st class tickets for our transatlantic flight this summer. That’s my goal over the next few months, and for $79, to me, that’s totally worth it.
If you’re planning a RTW trip, seriously, take a look at this ebook. If you have a little time, a little patience and know what you’re doing, I think, you could literally fly for free that whole year. If I was planning a similar trip, that’s exactly what I would do. Pool your money with other travelers and share this ebook, I won’t tell (just don’t tell Chris you heard it from me).
If you had 100,000 frequent flyer miles, where would you fly?
Pic: Alan Light
(Taken on a First Class Sleeper on a
United flight from Toyko to Chicago)