Thoughts on ‘Travel Hacking’

I am not a travel hacker.  I also think we should stop using it as a term.  The term ‘hacking’ implies two things:

  1. Nefarious or illegal
  2. Only available to those with a very special skillset
My passport

My passport

Nothing I do travel-wise (or life-wise, for that matter, I hope) is nefarious or illegal.  Nor does it violate the written rules of any airline or loyalty program (the spirit of those rules is another matter…).  I would never encourage someone to do something that knowingly violates the written rules of any loyalty program, period.

Anyone can travel like I do (caveat post here).  I do not have any sort of secret access to knowledge and information you do not.  I have learned what I know by researching things on my own, reading some fantastic miles and points blogs, and by making an absolute ton of mistakes.  The point of this blog is to invite you along as I travel the world and I’ll try as much as I can to help you do the same if you want.

I haven’t posted tons of secret insider tips for earning status or anything like that because there just aren’t that many shortcuts.  I have American’s highest publicly published status: Executive Platinum.  Want to know how I got it?  I traveled.  A lot.  Using money for most of the tickets.  MY money.

Earning points and miles takes an investment of time and money.  There are few ways of earning miles for free, and the ways that exist are quickly drying up.  The best way to earn miles and points, outside of credit card bonuses, is to spend money that you were already planning on spending on a credit card that earns you miles and points.  There just aren’t any instant ways to get hundreds of thousands of miles outside of outright purchasing them with money.

So, I’m not a travel hacker.  I’m going to stop mentioning travel hacking.  Anyone can do this.  In the coming days I will do a better job of telling you how I do it.

Ok, rant over, back to traveling!


  1. I disagree that just anyone can figure out how to travel regularly on miles/points from credit cards. It takes a certain personality and skill set to keep track of everything and many that I have tried to help just do not have the right combination to avoid making mistakes like keeping track of minimum spend or finding award space. If this hobby was easy for most, the banks would not make any money.

    • Appreciate the comment. I think most are not willing to invest the time it takes to learn the ins and outs of it, to many it seems like Too Much Work, I really struggle with it sometimes (the same way it sounds like you do)


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