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Fly Everywhere for Free?

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Imagine spending your life flying from airport to airport for free.

Sound like fun? No? Personally, it sounds like a special kind of hell.

As they say, "There's something for everyone" and I think this Rolling Stone article proves it.

It appears that there's a small group of people who make flying for free a game. It is fascinating to read exactly how great they are at it. It's not like they simply fly coach, but they get great perks.

The obvious questions are, "How do they do it?" and "Can I do the same thing?"

They do it by taking advantage of every perk that airlines offer. For example, they may bumped on flights earning a free ticket. They may use credit cards to get airline miles. They often don't care where they are going, so they can take the cheapest flight. They use a combination of all of these.

Sometimes they do things that others would consider unethical. For example, airlines have given passengers apology vouchers of $200-400 if there's something broken on the plane. The idea would be to rack up these whenever possible.

At the risk of living up to my "Lazy" name, this simply seems like too much work to me. It seems like it becomes your life. I think it also helps to be obsessive compulsive, but I'm not a psychologist.

So can you do the same thing? I don't think you'd want to. (If you do, you are probably already doing it, right?)

However, all is not lost. I know quite a few personal finance bloggers who sign up for credit cards to get the airline miles only to cancel them later. Racking up hard inquiries is not the best thing for your credit score, but if your credit is good in other areas, it won't hurt it too much.

I don't travel too much, so getting free flights is not that big of a deal for me. However, now that my kids are approaching the ages of 2 and 3 it's going to be a lot more expensive to fly. Maybe I should put some time into racking up frequent flyer miles.

Posted on September 29, 2015.

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7 Responses to “Fly Everywhere for Free?”

  1. Jess says:

    Haha, Ben doesn’t fly for free, not by a long shot. He leverages CCs and frequent flyer programs to fly premium airlines in premium cabins (like Emirates First Class, which has showers on board) for much less than otherwise but it’s far from free. It’s something he enjoys doing and he has made it into his full time job but it’s not free. He spends thousands a year on flights and hotels.

    It’s also not for everyone but he loves to travel, is young and not tied down by a family or traditional career so it sounds pretty great!

  2. freebird says:

    I hear you can get free hotel and meals if you wager enough at Las Vegas casinos. They might ‘comp’ your airfare too. Of course all of this isn’t ‘free’, it’s just a little kickback from the wads you lose at the tables.

    If you don’t want to open up your wallet at all, there’s always timeshare sales pitches. Warning: these can cost way more than your time if you’re easily persuaded.

  3. Jess says:

    I’ve read his blog for years, long before he was featured in the article. He wrote a post addessing things that were misrepresented in the article but I’m on my phone and don’t have my link handy.

    He has an award travel booking service (so if you need to use those FF miles you’ve racked up and can’t find suitable flights to use them on, he and his team can help. He also gets income from his very well read blog and from credit card affiliate sign ups from the cards he recommends for this hobby. He may have other sources of income (speaking fees for things like frequent traveler university or something) but those are the mains ones that I’m aware of.

  4. You already know I got into this a year and a half ago and last year, got many freebies on flights for me and the entire fam. Even with all that, am racking up almost a million points/miles by next year. lol Fun hobby! If so, that would mean what, $15K to $20K before tax (if you leverage those FF/hotel accounts). Still better to try to increase job/biz income IMO. ;)

  5. Unfortunately, I mainly travel on the way to FinCon, so I can’t take a delayed flight. Otherwise, I’d definitely consider getting one of those vouchers.

    Although, when I checked in, the system only offer a $100 voucher for taking a different flight. I mean, yeah “only” is a weird word. But I’d want more compensation than that to risk not getting on another plane for an indefinite period of time.

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