A recap of the 14 week plan to help you travel hack as an expert
Well peeps the challenge is almost over. Just a few days left for your to bag a few more points, followed by our last Twitter chat, so it’s time for a roundup of all the tasks from each week that you need to complete to ramp up your balance.
This will hopefully serve as a gentle reminder if you have lost your way and may just get you back on track.
You can still download the travel hack bundle and grab your free copy of the E-book which brings all this information together in one convenient location. It’s just a taster as I’m putting the finishing touches to the final product but feel free to send me any feedback if you go ahead and download.
So here’s the recap for the 14 weeks.
Week One – Getting Started
This week was all about selecting the best airline alliance and thus loyalty programme to meet your needs and is the foundation stone of the challenge. If you start off with a scattergun approach you will simply end up with lots of little frequent flyer balances which are harder to redeem. This results in disappointment as I discovered personally – there is nothing worse than accruing points only to see them go to waste.
Ignore this advice at your peril.
- Pick the best airline alliance for you and select your preferred airline from that alliance with the help of this free airline alliance infographic. You may also wish to check out the companion voucher post before making your decision.
- Both you and your partner (and children if you have any) should then sign up you for their loyalty program
- Record the frequent flyer numbers on this handy infographic
- Share your progress in the #From Miles To Smiles 90 day challenge Facebook group or pop a comment below
Week Two – Credit Card Golden Rules
Credit cards are really the best way to boost your balance quickly through both the sign up bonus and ongoing points accumulated through spending. For some, the thought of debt strikes fear into their very bones, and let’s be honest we have no desire to spawn a nation of debtors, so this post gives you a bunch of tips to stay out of trouble whilst using credit cards to bump up the miles.
- Download the Credit card tracker and note the details of your existing cards
- Add details of any additional cards you may apply for and keep us updated in the Facebook group.
Week Three – The Best UK Credit Cards
- If you haven’t already, check out the different travel credit cards and apply for the one which appeals the most
- Log the details on your Credit card tracker and start diverting as much spending as possible onto your new credit cards
- Grab the golden rules of travel hacking using credit cards infographic and for more help getting organised, check out LeAnna’s post showing you how she manages 60 credit cards. Yes, really!
- Of course, make sure you pay off the balances in full each month and let us know how you are getting on in the Facebook group.
Week Four – Shopping
Week four considers how you can turn your everyday shopping into loads more miles. Again credit cards are key and by using cards in select ways, you can double and even triple the points you earn. I’ve earned enough points in three months to fly business class long haul by using these very tips.
- Sign up for a Tesco Clubcard and change your preferences to convert points automatically to either Virgin Flying Miles or AVIOS
- Sign up for Top Cashback and always start your online shopping journey here to ensure you are not missing out on valuable cashback which could be converted into BA miles.
- Finally sign up for an AVIOS and Gate 365 account then share your progress in the Facebook group.
Week Five – Flying
Now you may think it is obvious that you can earn miles from flying, and indeed you can, but in addition there is a ton of other ways to earn miles in connection with your flights. From parking, to airport spending to lounge access there’s a bunch of other ways you can bag yourself even more BA miles so think smart and earn even more miles.
- If you are ever likely to use Heathrow airport, then register for Heathrow Rewards
- Check out AVIOS and Top Cashback to see which rewards you with the most miles for parking, travel insurance, lounge access and currency for forthcoming trips.
Week Six – Free flights and layovers
This week considers some canny ways to get more value from your miles including free flights and stopovers so is a worthwhile read before you even think about redeeming points.
- Have a play with FlyerMiler, TripStreak, Skypicker and Matrix ITA and decide which you like best. Jot a reminder in the ultimate checklist
Week Seven – Review the proposed timeline for earning your first free business class flight
- Set up a schedule for you and your partner (assuming you have one) to sign up for as many credit cards as possible in the next 12 months based on your potential spending.
- Figure out when you need to apply, reach the minimum spending and cancel. Don’t forget to refer one another before cancelling.
Week Eight – Hotels
In week eight, we turn to hotel programs and how these loyalty programs can help you earn free hotel nights and/or airmiles. Indeed it is possible to do both with some programs such as Hilton whereby I earn points in the HHonors program and bonus points into my British Airways Executive Club.
- Select your favourite hotel rewards program and explore opportunities to earn more hotel miles
- Sign up for hotels.com for those times when you cannot use your hotel rewards
Week Nine – Companion Vouchers
Week nine considers the use of companion vouchers in the UK (Jackie has you covered with news of the very envy inducing SouthWest Companion pass) to get more bang for your bucks.
There are a number of options for companion vouchers but not all are created equal and in fact, some are downright rubbish so be sure to check this out before taking the plunge with a specific airline alliance,
- Review this before deciding on your chosen airline alliance
Week Ten – British Airways Redemptions
The first of the redemption posts considers a ton of ways to get more value from your BA miles and even whether you should use them at all. It also gives you information on a bunch of useful resources that you can use to book and research flights.
- Pick a destination you would like to visit and find out how many AVIOS you will need by checking the British Airways site.
- See how this compares with the points you may require in another program as you may decide to put more emphasis on one program to achieve your goal.
- Feel free to visit the #From Miles To Smiles 90 day challenge Facebook group.
Week Eleven – Redemptions with any airline
The second in the redemptions post considers the different ways to get more value from your frequent flyer miles irrespective of which airmiles you have been collecting.
- Try piecing together some itineraries using one way segments, cash and AVIOS or upgrading with AVIOS/points.
- Bookmark the post so you will be able to find it when you need it to actually do this for real.
Week Twelve – The Ultimate Travel Hacking Resource Bundle
Week twelve pulls together all the useful resources mentioned during the challenge into the ultimate travel hacking resource bundle packed with infographics, checklists and spreadsheets to help you on your way to business class flights for less than economy.
Here you can download the entire bundle or individual infographics to suit your needs.
- Download the Ultimate Travel Hacking Bundle or our free E-book showing you how to Rocket Fuel Your Airmiles. Remember it is just a taster but those who download it will be notified when the final version is launched.
Week Thirteen – review
So here we are at the close of the challenge. How have you got on? I’d love to know along with any thoughts on how we can improve the challenge in the future. Would you like to see more videos, webinars or something else entirely? Drop a note in the comments box so we can bear this in mind!
- Your task this week is super simple – review all the prior tasks and catch up on any you have yet to complete.
- Download the final checklist which can also be found in the ultimate travel hacking bundle
Week Fourteen – the From Miles To Smiles Twitter Chat finale
So we have our final Twitter chat party on the 30th August which is your last chance to ask questions and mingle with other travel hackers. We would love for you to join us so just click on the above link and say yes you are coming to receive updates so that you don’t forget (is that just me?!).
Otherwise, congratulations you have completed the #From Miles To Smiles 90 day airmiles challenge (Pinterest).
We would love to stay in touch so if you would like to be updated of future events, webinars, challenges or podcasts, click here to get yourself on the Expert Travel Hacking List.
So that’s all folks. LeAnna, Jackie and I have had a blast getting to know you, answering your queries and seeing your poll answers. Feel free to keep visiting the Facebook group as we will keep adding content and would love to hear how you are getting on.