Barring some exciting news, tomorrow (Monday) is going to be my first “real” post. Yesterday’s introduction and today are partly to test out the system, and partly to lay out my vision of what this blog should be.
Because I am a creature of habit, I hope to maintain some regularity in the material that I post here. Part of my blogging strategy will be to introduce “lesson plans” for different aspects of travel hacking. When these happen, they will generally be three posts with a common theme published over the course of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (Don’t worry, you won’t have to study every week.) The very first lesson plan will be on ITA Software’s Fare Matrix, beginning tomorrow.
I want to spend today introducing the sites on my blogroll, which you can find at the bottom of this page or in the sidebar. I would not be here writing to you if it weren’t for the wealth of information provided by these individuals. They deserve some recognition, and I want to encourage you to read their sites because you won’t learn all there is just by listening to me.
Three of my favorite travel blogs out there are View from the Wing, Million Mile Secrets, and The Wandering Aramean.
View from the Wing is among the longest running blogs, and it’s author, Gary Leff, has been involved in much of the social organization among frequent flyers—both online and off—through his roles at MilePoint.com and the various DOs and Mega DOs (social get togethers that are a “big to-DO.”) I don’t know how he does it, but Gary seems to maintain a great variety of content for all interest levels without getting cynical or desensitized after all these years as a top-tier traveler.
Million Mile Secrets is authored by relative newcomer Daraius Dubash. His work is much more focused on earned miles free or on the cheap, then redeeming them for award trips. This is great if you don’t have the time, interest, or funds for revenue travel, and although getting elite status is difficult or impossible with award miles only, when you have a first class award ticket, that matters much less. Daraius is known for his interviews of other travel bloggers and for his seemingly encyclopedic posts that will identify every possible way to earn miles in a given scenario.
The Wandering Aramean, written by Seth Miller, deserves special recognition for various free travel tools like his UNESCO World Heritage Site Tracker. He has a software background that clearly comes in useful as more and more of the complex world of air travel ticketing moves online. In addition, Seth is fairly active on MilePoint and FlyerTalk. If I ever have an obscure question about Continental’s inventory data or how long it takes for its systems to update status, he probably has the answer.
Three other useful blogs on earning points and miles are Mommy Points, Frequent Miler, and The Points Guy.
Mommy Points is like many other blogs geared toward earning and spending free miles, but it’s geared particularly toward family travel. I regret not knowing her name, but Mommy Points is frequently writing about how she can earn the miles and points necessary to taker her daughter, Little C, to visit family and friends around the country. It offers a nice counterpoint to the top-tier elite business traveler experiences you’ll read about everywhere else. If you just don’t have that option to turn a trip to Disneyland into a hopscotching mileage run, then this is probably the blog for you.
Frequent Miler is probably the newest blog on my list and focuses on exploiting mile and point promotions to get cheap or free miles that can be turned into more valuable travel. I would put his work in a slightly different category from Daraius, since Frequent Miler can be often found looking for ways to double-dip with the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal for 50+ points per dollar and other insane exploits à la the Pudding Guy. He has this excellent ability to take a preposterous idea and then run with it. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but at least he’s out there testing the limits.
Finally, The Points Guy is Brian Kelly, a former business traveler who recently decided to blog full-time. He has excellent and detailed posts, but be warned that he also has more credit card ads and links than anyone else. However, he does that because he has set himself up as an authority on mile- and point-earning credit cards. Obviously there are going to be some ads for card applications, and he has earned the right to list every one of them. There are few people more qualified to answer your questions on credit card churn.
So there you have it! Obviously there are many more bloggers out there discussing various aspects of travel hacking. Check out BoardingArea, which hosts several of the blogs I mentioned above. Also look at MilePoint and FlyerTalk. These online forums are great places for reading about other travelers’ experiences and sharing your own.