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Today’s #TravelHackThursday post has me super excited as I introduce a fellow Prior2Boarding blogging duo. Ben and Jon are two thirty-something West Coast guys with full-time 9-5 jobs, who spend their long weekends traveling the world in first class. Yay, kindred spirits indeed who I cannot wait to meet in person (double yay as they are heading to London in January and we have a meetup scheduled!) to swap travel stories, tips and hacks with.
Ben and Jon show you how to hack your way around the globe
Here they are drinking champagne the day after Christmas onboard a private jet from Paris to Vienna. You can really go off some people can’t you? Except these guys are so damn nice, I do not think that is possible. If ever you needed a reason to travel hack, this alone should have you convinced but Brits beware, it may take those on this side of the pond a little longer to achieve!
Oh boy, do I love this photo! You can follow Ben and Jon’s flash-hacking stories on Facebook or Twitter or via their website NoMasCoach but let’s hear from them directly sharing some of their travel hacks.
Are you rich?
Well, in fact we ARE millionaires. Currently, between the two of us, we have over 2.6 million airline miles and hotel points. So I suppose in that regard, yes, we are rich. Bank accounts? Well, we’re working on that!
Anne: Oh I love these guys. Seriously envious of that points balance. My balance gets earned and spent as quick as I get those points and 2-4-1 vouchers.
How did you discover travel hacking?
Before we met we both had been traveling extensively across the country. I had already visited over 30 states before I was 20, and Ben had visited over 20 states before he even moved to this country so we both had developed a passion to see more of the world from a young age.
We both knew that there was a much larger world out there to explore, but, since we didn’t have any money, we knew that there had to be a better way to do it! We both were earning frequent flier miles and owned credit cards to earn extra miles, but when we met a friend of ours about five to six years ago (who was travel hacking as well) we decided that we could take some simple practices and truly maximize them to be able to afford ourselves the opportunity to travel in luxury and style.
After all, life’s too short to sit in the back of the plane! Anne: I secretly think these guys would still have fun in the back of a plane! I want to do a long-haul flight with them just for the crack! Look, Ben even likes hugging dangerous animals!
Where did you go on your first long haul trip using rewards, and how many points did you use?
We first flew “together” to Australia back in 2013. Miles were tight at the time, so Ben made the sacrifice (worst idea ever, he now says!) and sat in coach, while I (at 6 foot 3) took the flights in business. Once we arrived in Sydney, I was well rested and ready to go and Ben was ready to strangle me.
Anne: OMG Ben you are clearly a saint. No way would I ever allow my husband to go sit upfront while I slum it in cattle!! That is dedication for you! Jon, didn’t you feel a teeny weeny bit guilty and sneak Ben some freebies?!
Jon: From that point on we decided NO MORE would we split cabins and we would BOTH fly up front or not at all. As we were sitting in the business class lounge waiting for our connecting flight, Ben looked over at me and said “No Mas Coach!” so now you know where we got the name for our blog!
Since I was flying exclusively with Delta at the time, we used Delta Skymiles and it cost 150,000 round trip for business class and 80,000 for coach.
How long did it take you to accumulate the points, and using what methods?
Since Ben was living in Argentina and I in Miami, we had to travel back and forth often to see each other. A round trip once every 4-6 weeks is an easy way to accumulate miles! Ben was traveling every couple of months internationally for work, and it’s always easy to accumulate miles when you’re traveling on someone else’s dime.
On top of that, when you’re putting every expense on your credit card (from the tank of gas to the 42 cent stamp to the new computer) miles add up pretty quickly. We used everything from shopping portals to dining reward programs to maximize all that we could.
Your top tips for others wishing to do the same?
Besides reading our blog and subscribing to get all the tips and tricks delivered daily? (Anne: well that goes without saying obviously!) You have to remember that even though it might seem like an insignificant number of miles to use a shopping portal for a $5 item, or placing postage stamps on your credit card, you have to realize this is a marathon, and every mile counts in the long run to build up your balance.
Twenty miles extra a day is over 7,000 a year. These small amounts add up over time and before you know it you’re on your way, literally!
Anne: You will definitely have some fun reading their travel tales too! Here they are hanging out with missiles pointing at North Korea! They look like they are having a pretty good time!
What’s the best thing about travel hacking in the U.S?
I think the best part is that there are so many ways to earn miles. From credit cards to online surveys to dining programs to promotional offers, there is no excuse NOT to earn miles and points. With so many options available, its silly not to take advantage of them all.
Never ever ever ever ever pass on the opportunity to earn miles, especially since it’s usually just a quick sign up or a simple click to get started! After all, who doesn’t want to see baby elephants in Bali after flying there in first?
Musings from Anne
So that’s how this wanderlust duo travel in style and you can too. To learn all the tips and tricks showing you how to fly for less, you can sign up for the Travel Hack Trio Facebook Group where you will receive step by step guidance to help you build your own balance including details of the best credit cards and some great resources to help you manage your hacking habits.
What should you do now?
Firstly, don’t forget to pin this as a reminder of the dynamite duo and their top tips, or just go ahead and subscribe below so you will never miss out on updates.
We would love to hear your top tips for travel hacking too so don’t be shy. The comments box is your stage…