Feb 24, 2015

My travel strategy, illustrated with my $421 trip to Budapest

I often get asked how I’m able to travel so much and keep it affordable. I’m not rich: Indeed I could never afford most of the travel I do if it were not for using the tricks and techniques of the frequent flyer world.

Here I’ll share a bit about my typical travel strategy, illustrated through a

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Aug 6, 2014

Around the World in Business Class on US Airways Award for $1,146

US Airways has always had one of the most lucrative award charts, especially for stretching long international redemptions. They’ve got very flexible routing rules, awards that are priced by the agent and not the computer, and an extremely good award chart, especially amidst recent devaluations.

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Mar 26, 2014

Bizarre US Airways Chairman's Certificate Availability

I’m pretty tolerant of low award/upgrade space, and am extremely flexible when it comes to using my miles and upgrade instruments. I’m grateful to even be in the position to use such things, even if not at my ideal time.

But the experience I’ve had trying to find US Airways Chairman’s certificate

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Nov 2, 2013

Trip Report: Singapore Airlines A380 Private Suite SIN-HKG

I’ve been wanting to sample the legendary Singapore Airlines A380 private suite for a while: this was the first and most famous “private suite” first class product in the skies, launched in 2007 with the very first Airbus A380 flight. For a while, Singapore Suites was basically unattainable on miles, being restricted only to Singapore Krisflyer members and only for an outrageous number of miles. But not long ago, Singapore started releasing Suites availability at the saver rate, which is pretty reasonable, with the caveat that they still only release availability to their own Krisflyer members and not to their Star Alliance partners. Luckily, both American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest points can be transferred directly into Singapore Krisflyer.

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Oct 29, 2013

Trip Report: Thai 747 Royal First Class SYD-BKK

The third flight on my US Airways 140,000 mile Australia redemption was Sydney to Bangkok, forming my return stopover in Southeast Asia. Thai operates two flights daily on 747s, and both routes had tons of first class availability. For as long as I’ve been checking, there were first class seats open every single day in October.

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Oct 14, 2013

Trip Report: Asiana First Class Suite JFK-ICN

Back in February I was ecstatic to find award space on Asiana First Class Chicago to Seoul and ANA First Class Tokyo to Chicago on the same award, so I quickly booked a redemption to Australia with a stopover in Asia (140,000 US Airways miles, for about $29,000 “worth of” flights, and a pretty good sweet spot on their award chart). Asiana ended up moving their private suite route from Chicago to New York, so I had to shuffle around some flights to keep my private suite, and I’m really glad I did. They’ve only got the suite product on two 777-200ER planes, both now servicing JFK only. Note that Asiana codes this plane as 77W, which shows up as 777-300ER to other airlines, but is really a 777-200ER.

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Oct 5, 2013

Anatomy of a 2.4 CPM Beijing Booking

Late morning in Sydney I got an e-mail into my inbox from IFTTT, which I use to monitor mileage run posts, that there was a $448 roundtrip fare from Philadelphia to Beijing. Ever since booking a mileage run to Shanghai in December, I decided I’d get a Chinese 1 year visa and eventually go back to China next year for a proper visit. After relaying the news, some friends asked me how I was able to book such a complicated routing.

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Sep 19, 2013

Mileage Run Report: Back-To-Back Red-Eye and Returns at 2CPM

This article was jointly written by Sean Meehan of Freak Went Flying and Ben Hughes of Flight Leverage and appears jointly.

How can we resist 2.0 CPM?

When a $58 one-way fare from Las Vegas to Boston comes up, it’s really hard to pass up, even if doing so creates a brutally tiresome mileage run. Back in April when this fare was active, I convinced Sean to book two consecutive runs with me on this fare: a red-eye departing Las Vegas, returning back just in time to catch another red-eye. I’m always up for some extreme flying, and in this case the double red-eye-and-returns yielded 2.0 CPM. With about 48 hours hopping airports, our routing was:

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Sep 18, 2013

Hyatt Diamond Challenge for United Golds and Above

A few months ago United and Marriott anounced a partnership whereby anyone with United Gold, Platinum, or 1K status could immediately match to Marriott Gold status, which normally requires 50 nights in a year.

Separately, Hyatt has for a while offered Diamond status challenges to those with top-elite status on a competing hotel chain, granting Diamond status for 60 days which could be kept for the next calendar year if completing 12 Hyatt nights over those 60 days.

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Sep 7, 2013

Flying Thai Airways 747 First Class for $79

When it comes to flights, the region I love most is Asia. They’ve got the best airports in the world, and plenty of outstanding airlines that beat the socks off their embarassing American counterparts. There’s also a tendancy to use wide-bodied aircraft on short routes. Between Hong Kong and Bangkok, with a flight time of only three hours, you have your choice of a Thai Airways A380, Emirates A380, or Cathay Pacific 747, among other fifth freedom routes by airlines such as Royal Jordanian.

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Sep 3, 2013

New Blog: Flight Leverage Introduction

Friends who follow my travel escapades have long said I should start a blog, but I’ve resisted: there’s a wealth of other resources with great content, and I was never sure I contribute beyond all the other great blogs out there.

Since leaving my home in May and becoming a travel-full-time digital nomad, I’ve been immersed in the travel world and have focused on leveraging as much travel value as I can. Coming up with interesting travel hacks has become my passion. Sharing my thoughts, tips, and experiences seems to make sense, and I think now’s the right time to start.

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