frequent flyer mastery

PoshPorts loves to help you increase travel pleasure and value. Optimizing rewards of Frequent Flyer programs is one way to do that and Frequent Flyer Master is an e-book that demystifies getting the most miles you can in a variety of ways.

One of the challenges to modern travel is finding convenient transportation at the best price for where we want to go. Joining frequent flyer loyalty programs or having credit cards that earn "miles" or "points" that we can redeem for travel awards is a smart way to help defray our costs. But trying to use the rewards can sometimes thwart our enthusiasm because of limitations, blackout periods, undesirable destination options or even just the sheer volume of points or miles you must earn in order to get a reward of value.

Chris Guillebeau, an intrepid traveler and "non-conformist," has written an ebook - actually more like a mini crash course - that explores an array of tools and techniques to get, manage and optimize frequent flyer miles so that before you know it, you will be able to take advantage of your rewards, gain elite traveler status and access to amenities like airline lounges without spending too much of your hard earned cash. If you've been holding off on visiting some of those exotic destinations, Frequent Flyer Master can help you kick your travel plans into high gear.

The Frequent Flyer Master guide comes with a 'one free plane ticket' guarantee, so rest assured the author stands behind the ideas in his book. Not only that, but as someone who has built a 'lifestyle business' around his enjoyment of travel, Guillebeau is on a quest to visit every country in the world. He's well on his way to 192 countries, averaging 20 new countries in a year in addition to return visits to his favorite destinations. He produces a variety of "Unconventional Guides" of which the Frequent Flyer Master is one.

Some of the strategies presented include learning how to earn miles without actually traveling by smart use of credit cards and other programs, how to make best use of the rewards you have earned by redeeming them in the most beneficial fashion, and how business and first class travel can sometimes be a cheaper (and obviously more comfortable) option than the standard redemptions for economy travel. There are also some creative techniques for making stopovers into vacations of their own and using travel booking websites to your advantage. The information provided really jumpstarts your brain about ways to get the most out of your travel plans - something that inspires us to be more creative - a wonderful side effect of Guillebeau's way of thinking about travel.

We'd like to point out that as voracious as we are for travel, not all of the techniques and strategies presented suit our sensibilities. Guillebeau's concept of "travel hacking," that is experiencing the world on a limited budget, contains a vast array of opportunities, some of which are easy, not very time-consuming and absolutely worthwhile. For example, he compares various credit card award programs and points out the benefits of some over others and, more importantly, ways to evaluate whatever current offers exist and decide which is best for you.

While not mentioned specifically in Frequent Flyer Master (we're sure this will come up in an email update, though) we got the Capital One Venture card. This card, while available only to those with excellent credit, provides 2 miles for every dollar spent. There is a bonus of thousands of miles just for using the card within the first three months. Redemption is simple. 10 miles equals $1. So, if you have 6000 points you can spend $600. There are no blackout periods, miles never expire, and you can keep earning them until the cows come home, so to speak. Best of all, there are no foreign conversion or transaction fees for using the card overseas. We think this is one of the best deals going.

Many of the airlines and credit cards also provide additional miles bonuses if you make various purchases through their online portal or mall. If you are going to make the purchase online anyway, why not? And, there's often a big initial incentive giving you enough miles for a free flight as soon as you spend some specified amount within the first few payment cycles. For example, right now Citi has an American Airlines Advantage credit card that is offering 75,000 miles if you sign up and spend $1500 on the card within the first 6 months. This is a monster starting point for your travel goals. Even though we love our Capital One Venture card, we are also tempted by this offering.

Most of the techniques in Frequent Flyer Master are so straightforward and simple you will have no trouble using them. Some of the ideas are more time-consuming, complicated or just unappealing to us. You will have the option to decide how much you are willing to do. For example, we are not likely to sign up for a whole slew of credit cards to get the points and then cancel them if/when the annual fee comes due (most such cards waive the first year fee and we frequently find we can get them to drop it in subsequent years for good customers). We are also not likely to buy an airline ticket we do not intend to use and then cancel it shortly thereafter. Some of the techniques are more edgy than we are but, as they say, your mileage may vary. You may find they provide that extra boost you are looking for in order to reach your goals. It's really up to you.

Frequent Flyer Master shows you how to set an overall mileage earning strategy, take advantage of the various travel alliances that exist, earn up to 200,000 miles a year without traveling, redeem miles for high-value awards, and more. The guide provides unique insights regarding specific loyalty programs and how to capitalize on some special offers new even to us. For example, did you know that Expedia has a "best rate guarantee" that can give you a $50 voucher if you find a way to beat their price (within their requirements)? And, not only that, but there's a resource that does all the work of finding those deals that meet the requirements for you. Pretty nifty.

For the price of $49, we took the e-book for a spin ourselves. Guillebeau delivers more than he promises. When you purchase the e-book, which is immediately downloadable as a pdf file (thus meeting our instant gratification quotient) you receive much more than that. You will also receive a guide to "Surviving Travel in North America (and beyond)" containing techniques and actionable ideas for dealing with domestic travel. And you'll get yet another guide about booking discount hotels using Priceline, something we would never have considered previously. Additionally, you'll get access to an MP3 audio that describes getting started in detail, a quick entry plan for those of us with little patience and big goals. Finally, you'll be part of an email list that will provide you with a few updates to the information provided in these guides.

All in all, we think that Frequent Flyer Master is a great resource if you're willing to spend even a little time learning how to take advantage of the offers out there. You don't need to spend a ton of time to get good results. It will certainly spur your creativity to help you get the most out of whatever you are doing today and perhaps send you on that dream trip much sooner than expected.

Using us as an example, within just 3 months we have amassed over 150,000 miles and reached elite status on two major airlines without traveling more than we planned or spending money on crazy things (well, no crazier than usual for us!) We're thinking differently about layovers when we he have some flexibility in our plans, which makes travel more pleasant, more cost-effective, and less of a hassle. Our slight change in approach enables us to say that now there's fun in the journey as well as the destination.

Because we like what we've seen, and because we have purchased and used some other Unconventional Guides products, we've become an Unconventional Guides affiliate. That means that if you visit the Unconventional Guides site and make a purchase by clicking the ad here you will be supporting PoshPorts as well:

Frequent Flyer Master

We'll be taking a closer look at other relevant Unconventional Guides in the future. But if you want to explore them now and support PoshPorts, please click this link to visit the Unconventional Guides Product Page.

If you purchase and use the Frequent Flyer Master Guide, let us know! We will add an area to PoshPorts.com where you can share your experiences, best tips and techniques with others. Bon Voyage!