A Hacker's Toolkit for Global Travel (Or, How to Travel Anywhere on Airline Miles)
1:53PM Jul 31, 2020
frequent flyer program
Hello everyone and welcome back for more of hope 2020. Before we jump in next session we want to give an old school slow clap to all the attendees presenters and volunteers is commitment to hope, and to our community have made this event possible in these trying times. So next up are Philip scroggins and Marjorie George, Margie and Phillip are retired New York City educators, and who traveled together to every continent over the past 20 years, mostly using miles. Their talk today is titled hackers toolkit for global travel or how to travel anywhere on airline miles, and it's about how traveling the world can be done with little or no money. Always good to know. We'll have a QA session with Philip and Marjorie after the talk so be sure to submit your questions via the matrix chat window, we'll gather them and ask them directly. Now, over to you, Martin Philip take it away. Hi.
We'll be with you in a second as soon as I get this set up and running.
There we go.
Hi, I'm Phil scroggins. Hi, I'm Marjorie George, and this is a hackers toolkit global travel or how to travel anywhere on airline miles.
Went to retired me at City educators who decided that we would like to spend our time at traveling as much as possible. The problem is how do you do that on a pension.
I've invested a lot of time, effort and money in learning how to beat the airlines at their own game, it's become my all consuming hobby. And whenever anyone asks me what I do in retirement. I tell them I spend my time figuring out ways to beat the man. We traveled all over the world. This way, just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. We were in Australia and New Zealand for a month and only cost me about $300 to fly there round trip in business class.
I paid a little bit more about $800 because I didn't have the amount of miles that filled it, but I still flown business class on one of the best airlines in the world. For $800, that same flight would have cost over 1500 in economy. For
Okay, take a minute to read the disclaimer.
Okay, that's enough.
No one, not even the airlines know when what the world, the post COVID travel world. It we know when normal or something close to normal travel will be soon. Until the plague hit head have been the practice of airlines to maximize maximize profit by jamming as many people onto a plane as possible. Obviously, that is probably not going to work in the future. That meant, but jamming as many people as possible on a plane meant that they were empty seats, and that was relatively easy to find on miles. This is probably not going to be the case moving forward. Because there will be fewer airlines, and fewer seats, but we still, we still believe that you will be able to get seats. If you're diligent
Second, you can't fly for no money. Yes, I'm aware that's a double negative. Anyone who tells you that you can can fly for no money is either recorded, or they're lying to you. It will always cost you something in terms of at least taxes and airline fees, but not nearly as much as it would if you paid for it. Because think about if you paid for it, you still have to pay those taxes and fees. If you don't careful. Even the taxes and fees can be reduced. When you try to research the history and origins of frequent flyer programs, you get a lot of conflicting stories and various airlines all trying to claim credit for something that's obviously been a real cash cow for them. No matter who you credited to this much a certain airlines began tracking and passengers travel the 1950s and gay plaques and little rewards. The most frequent fliers in 1981 American Airlines launched the advantage frequent flyer program and United Airlines launched mileage Plus Program almost simultaneously play that yet. Delta Airlines created their own skymiles program
by 1997 every major airline had a frequent flyer program, offering free flights. After a certain number of flights or miles flown to further entice customers us airlines formed alliances with foreign carriers to allow the use of their frequent flyer miles for overseas travel.
Somehow, go ahead. I'm so how
no one outside of the airline industry knows how airlines actually make money trading miles between each other. They consider it a trade secret. And in the event. I looked at it, like BF Skinner what I don't really need to know what goes on inside the box as long as I know what input I need to get the desired output. In this case the desired output is a reduced low cost business class ticket
to carry this even further. The major airlines form strategic alliances between each other, to keep the training, miles in available seats between them, so they don't lose them to other airlines with whom they're not partnered, and to reduce the areas in which they have to compete for business, sort of like the spheres of influence European powers formed in the 1800s. This means to buy a ticket from New York to Moscow and delta will probably lead to an arrow flight and All Nippon Airways ticket could put you on united. True story. I did a search for New York to Singapore the other day, and the Singapore Airlines search who did me through Switzerland on Swiss. I've heard that somebody would suggest that this is somehow cheating Airlines was stealing from them. Nonsense. Despite the poverty that the airlines claim. There have been times in recent history where while the rest of the airline was running at a deficit. The only department actually making money was the frequent flyer miles. It's my guess that that's the only thing keeping them afloat right now.
Yeah, are a variety of ways to collect frequent flyer miles.
Flying is how most people think you collect flyer miles. This is how the airlines would love you to do it, because then you just be flying back and forth, and giving them more and more money, which is how they make the most money, but it's how you lose the most money, quick story
had been saving miles for years for a trip to the Far East. And I was doing on united. And then I noticed that my miles were expiring. So what did I do. I planned a trip to Chicago.
What did I do, I went to Chicago, I had lunch, I turned around, I came back. Why, because a $350 airline ticket was cheaper than losing thousands of miles that I had accumulated over the years. Turns out that was the wrong thing to do because united still found a way to take away those bonds,
which is also another caveat is use your files as soon as possible. Several airlines will give you additional miles. If you buy an economy class and later upgrade to this and so forth. That too is expensive and generally speaking, not the way to go.
There are different ways that you can do this, you can buy a ticket, but an economy, and then ask them for an upgrade, which sometimes they'll do for free, but it's not likely. You can wait till you get to the gate, ask for an upgrade. Sometimes they'll do it, but it's not likely. Or,
ask when you get on the plane, which is really not likely. Now, keep in mind that you can only upgrade to the next class and you can't do it from the cheapest ticket. So you cannot buy Basic Economy, and thank you but again first class. You can't even get, you can't upgrade a Basic Economy ticket at all. So never buy Basic Economy.
You could just buy a miles now this is the method we use most often as crazy as it sounds. Most of my miles were obtained through Avianca airline lifestyles program. I have actually never flown on Avianca, not one time. But I have used their frequent flyer program to five miles, several times. The last time, for example I bought Avianca miles when they had 150% sales per mile. So what does that mean that means that I bought 25,000 miles at 3.6 cents for miles, four miles sorry which turned out to be about $900, but because they were running a sale. They actually gave me 50,000 additional miles, bringing the total up to 75,000, miles at, which I purchased for $900. Now what's significant about that you need. Currently, 80,000 miles for a one way business class ticket, which is what I needed. So therefore, I, you, I bought $75,000 75,000 miles for approximately $900, which was most of the way towards a business classic and I'll tell you later how I made the other 5000 miles. But a business class, a one way business class ticket would have costs on on Asiana would have costs about $3,000. Mind you, $900, what me 75,000, miles. The savings there is obvious.
Okay, you're looking at a chart now that's taken from ita software ita software is your best friend when it comes to finding out airline prices ita is owned by Google and Google hates it we use ita ita is used for mass the data that they use for Google. Flight, I think it's called. And when you go to Google Flight, a lot of stuff sell you the ticket, and they don't tell you all the fees and they don't tell you everything that's related to it, all that data is in ita software. So what you do is look up where you want to go and ita software will tell you how much the fares are on every airline, and this way you will know exactly what it'll cost you. In this example that you're looking at. We will flying. New York to Sydney in business class, because we're taking a cruise ship back, but that's another story
it would cost anywhere between 3438 and 9300 to fly me 3900 to fly one way. I would own up if you look at this list and you look at what the airlines are, I will only fly as IANA on this list, because the service is much better for the end the others, and the price difference really isn't that great.
There are many different plans which allow you to buy miles, although Marriott bonvoy looks to be the cheapest. If you look at my research. They have many restrictions such as you can only buy a maximum of 50,000 points at a time. Who, what happened. Go back, we will have to go back. You can only find a maximum of 50,000 points at a time. And those points transfer to airlines at a rate of three points per month, which means that you need three times as many points as miles that you need. If you transfer them to Aeroplan or life miles. However, you can combine American Express miles to make up the difference. Once I combined.
American Express black card at SPG to get enough points to fly for only two taxes. Now, my mom always told me not to shop at Macy's on any other day besides Wednesday. Why, because they always have a sale on Wednesdays I'm sure you've noticed that. It's the same with miles. Always five miles from there's a sale, which happened at least once or twice a year, Avianca for example, seems to have life mile sales at least two or three times a year. The latest sale, which gave you a 150% bonus for every mile purchase just ended Aeroplan and bonnefoy however both have sales now. And if you buy 50,000 bonvoy points, you get a total of another 30,000 points. In total, 80,000 points, which translates to about 27,000 actual miles. If you need more proof that miles trading businesses lucrative for the airlines, look no further than Marriott bonvoy due to COVID-19 nobody's staying at their hotels and resorts worldwide, except those who are quarantined or bubbled. So this is a way, making them making at least some money. Look out the future sales as the crisis continues.
Okay. So, in this example of an economy bear. It is possible to buy a ticket with cash for less than getting it with miles but you really want to change flights in Qatar, to go to Australia, sometimes utility and value has to be the deciding factors on how to purchase a ticket. We're not necessarily saying that all method is too cheap, but consider this, the two cheapest fares required to layovers, with a total of 41 hours is nine is saving $98 really worth it an extra 13 hours in travel time. I think
this is why you have to comparison shop. Yes, you can fly for less than the cheapest miles price, even on sale. But no matter how you go, the cheapest fares are going to yield a miserable experience. I don't know if it's apparent, but we are of a certain age.
And as such,
it's very difficult for us to sit cramped for nine hours in an economy seat anyone. We get up on that skirt our legs hurt. Everything hurts. And it's a terrible way to start a vacation. I flew to UK with a friend on Virgin Atlantic. And he insisted that we go on economy, because it was cheaper. We only saved about $200 over using miles in business class. I had an uncomfortable flight. When I pointed this out to him. My friend said, but hey, we saved $200.
So, my friend was Pennywise and pound foolish. Exactly.
So, you want to start off your vacation, on a good note feeling rested and comfortable and maybe even a little bit pamper. Consider using miles to go in.
As everyone knows, you can also upload files by using a credit card that gives an answer. Of course there is a right way to do this, and our wallet. Consider the purchases that you make every day groceries. Yeah.
whatever, how many miles are you losing by not charging them to a credit card that gives you miles for purchases, the number that I needed to make up that 5000 miles that I needed to get a business class ticket, while everyday purchases, is how I made up those that 5000 miles.
Everyday purchases can actually add up quite a few miles. And when they're added to other methods such as buying models and upgrading, you can save quite a bit. I needed 80,000 miles for a round trip flight to Europe. When I went for the World War One commemoration couple of years back, so I transferred 20,000 for my American Express account and 10,000 for my Marriott bonvoy account. This way I only had to buy 50,000 points, which was the sweet spot for miles purchased on Aeroplan at the time. The reason I say it's the sweet spot is because it gets to a certain level and then the number of points that you can buy the clock. The bonus the clients, because they don't want you doing exactly what I did. So, but by transferring some 30,000. I could buy less, and therefore my, I spent less on my ticket. This way I only have to buy 50,000 points which was that sweet spot for miles purchased on our planet.
I am quite a few miles from when I put my shoe cart, and when I have tuts that racked up quite a bit more. So again, just think about your everyday purchases, and how you can make that work for you. Another thing is that no one ever see stuff that comes in with your credit card statements or the emails they got, you know, just put it in your junk mail folder. But in those emails or inserting your credit card statements, they are often ways to get extra miles. They often run promotions, like for example, recently several companies were running promotions for for double points or triple points or whatever, for purchases made at grocery stores.
Right now, for example, American Express gold card is a deal where they give you four times points for money spent in the supermarket. That means, for example, if I spend $100 on groceries I get 400 points, which can be exchanged for 400 airline miles. $100 a week, equals 5200 points a year, which American Express will give me four times points or 28,000 points or 20,800 points.
for doing absolutely nothing but buying the same groceries that I would have what anyway. Some people might say to you. Yeah, but there are fees on those cards, and they're expensive, guess what, if you have those parts, and you pay the fees, you almost always get enough utility out of it to make up what you paid or winds up paying now pricing.
There are many caveats to collecting miles with purchases about and if you're not careful, not only will the ticket question moinian but you'll find the following a lot of. inches so be smart and follow these really simple rules. Number one is as we said before, miles have an expiration date. So don't hold on to your miles, thinking well I'm gonna use them five years use them as soon as possible. Airlines devalue them quite frequently, they put an expiration date. They can change the terms with very little notice, so if you thank them, you could just wind up losing them or wind up with worthless miles. This probably sounds obvious, but don't buy anything you weren't going to buy anyway yes you're going to buy gas. Yes, you will going to buy groceries. Yes, you're going to take vital to the VAT, but don't say well yeah i think i need living room furniture. I'll do it, so I can get miles. No, we're not saying that we're not encouraging people to go into debt to, to get miles for airline tickets.
Just buy things who would have what anyway. Think about that $5 cup of Starbucks coffee every morning, you're spending the $5 anyway instead of giving Starbucks $5 in cash on your credit card. Like, there are some things of course I'm sure you don't want to show up on your credit card. But,
afraid the man will find out you drink coffee. Big deal.
The next obvious point, pay off the card, as soon as possible, as soon as possible. Ideally is immediately go and go online to pay for what you were just born, otherwise as one financial expert that you will be paying for that cup of coffee twice.
There's a methodology to find miles, make sure the destination and dates are available. Use ita software or Skyscanner to make sure you're getting a good deal. You don't want to spend more and miles than you would have paid if you paid cash. Compare the prices and make sure you're getting a good deal. And then buy the miles and use them right away. Seat sell out fast. This is especially a problem with life miles, because they often sell out almost a year ahead of time. One example. I said to Marjorie, we have to buy these tickets. She said that trips, not for a year. I said, That's right. But the miles go on sale 364 days before the flight. So we have to buy them now.
of course, because she thought it was silly, but we bought them. We went, I went back 364 Three days later. And guess what, 363 days before the flight. And guess what, they were all gone.
So seats, sell out very, very quickly. On Because the only releasing a certain amount of of seats for that you can purchase with miles, so they sell, they go really really fast. So,
there's actually been times when we bought one seat from Avianca and one seat from aeroplane because there was only one seat available in each plan
Philly. You really need that. So what are your travel plans, some credit cards. If you cashback I won't name them a name but you know some of them start, for example, start with the DNA. And instead of giving you frequent flyer miles that can be cashed back. Well, this is a trap airline miles frequent flyer miles for the reasons that we've been telling you this whole time are worth a lot more than a small percentage of what you spent that $3. I don't know what you're gonna do with the $3 cash back. I do know what you do with those airlines with 30,000
frequent flyer miles. So,
don't do it. Get a card, that's going to give you the miles, miles are much more valuable than the cashback. They're going to make money on the interest anyway. So, Get the airline frequent flyer marks.
Just before we recorded this talk, I went online and I bought something from a certain online company that begins with an A and ends with an end and sells everything.
This company offered to
give me the product that I wanted to buy, which was only $20 By the way, for 19,000, American Express miles
against myself they gotta be kidding me. much more valuable, using them
Every frequent flyer check every frequent flyer program and join all of them, and check them for specials and sales hosted for free and you don't have to fly the airlines to use your miles on Alitalia's meal Amelia is the only exception that I know of. And in their case what you have to do is you have to phone meal and michelia once before they'll let you use miles that you bought. And you can only use 75% of the miles that you need to fly. So that means that you have to fly, Neil and michelia, at least a couple of times to be able to fly Milla michelia. So stay off mila michelia. I mean, stay off I'll Italian. Sometimes you can double dip and get miles for both your credit card company, and from the airline. So, if that's why you're reading the things that come with your
Now, here are just some of the programs that I'm a member of these aren't even all of them these are just the ones that I use most frequently. Don't think that a frequent flyer miles, only for an overseas flight, although I don't think you can do it anymore. I want to use Delta Airlines, delta miles on a Virgin Atlantic site purchase a round trip from LaGuardia to Boston on Delta. They can be used domestically, and sometimes if you buy them from a European site or an Asian site, it will actually cost you less than if you bought them from the actual domestic site that you want to combine them, and they're going to put you on the same plane.
And now, for another example, and although this is an overseas example.
If you buy. If you want to go on cuantas. It's almost impossible to buy frequent flyer miles and use them on Qantas because they just don't have the seats available, but you can buy Delta miles. And guess what, when you go to the airport, it puts you on quite this point. So you wind up still on Qantas. In some circumstances, there will just be no frequent flyer seats available. This is because each airline in the Alliance is account. A lot of a certain number of seats and to sell them for you they have to get them from another airline. In one case life miles only show two seats available in business class on a lot Polish airlines fly to Warsaw. But when we got on the plane, we were the only two people in business class.
So we our final destination is not once on but to a change in planes and that was on our routes. And so
I think that
a lot of the current situation to just add a little side story here about what we're going to call traveling want black. So we do a lot of traveling in business class this way. Because as we said we're older, you know, we don't want to sit in economy for for a long period of time, but we are, you know, we're retired, you know, tired educators. So we want to miss this. Getting on this business, this flight, and they call for business class and we went up, and the flight attendant looked at, didn't look Excuse me. Did it look at our gate agent, the gate so the gate agent didn't look at our boarding passes, but decided that we did not belong in the business class. This slide is for business class. So, you try to explain to her that we did actually have business classes, but she insisted that, you know, this line was for business class. After some convincing, she actually did look at the boarding pass. And we did get in flight but, yeah,
I'm gonna say that that is not necessarily the first time that that has happened. It's happened on Georgia, it's happened on a lot. It's happened on Air France. It happens a lot. Singapore looked at our tickets and looked at us and look at our tickets and didn't get them didn't seem to like it didn't seem to make sense to her, but she didn't give us any trouble. Unlike the European
hidden routes are sometimes an option as well. Think outside the box and use ita software or Skyscanner to find hidden combinations that might work. Now I'm not telling you that you should buy a ticket to a particular destination. If you're not going to that destination. For example, there are some people who might look at a flight between New York and Euston and realize that it's actually cheaper to fly from New York to Las Vegas, with a stop in Houston for changing flights. They get off the flight neuesten, they throw away the part from Euston to Las Vegas, and then they go on their vacation. This is illegal. They can ban you for life on that airline if you did that. Those tonsa, no matter how long it was between flights, when you try to fly them again. They have it in their computer that you did that, and they will charge you. The difference between the flight you did take and the flight you were going to tape. Plus, price of your new airline ticket that you're buying. So don't do that. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that sometimes they're what they call destinations in between flights that you wouldn't want to take. And if you say, and if you say to a travel agent. I want to buy
this seat on this flight.
Or if you
have the, the flight code for a particular flight. They will sell you that flight, and it might be cheaper. For example, if you're flying from New York to LA with a stop in Houston, but you really want to go to use them. You say that I'm, I'm going from New York to use the this flight as a stop off in Houston, they will sell you that ticket. And that might actually be cheaper than flying to use that on a listed flight. Now, you might also think of traditional political allies, or people might have emigrated, there's a lot of immigration back and forth. There's also a lot of travel back and forth between those places people go back home to visit their relatives and whatever, and as such they stop off in these places, Germany and Turkey, for example, An example that also think about nearby cities, fly to Frankfurt if you're going to Berlin. Why, because there may be many more seats available to Frankfurt, and a plane between the two cities is fast and cheap. Only $62, if you take the train it's $110. Another thing you might do is fly. During off periods of time. A good example of this. A lot of people fly to London, the first time they go to Europe, because they're afraid because they don't speak the language, whatever. Don't worry about it, they all speak English. Flying fly. Instead, to Brussels, fly to London. If you fly to Brussels, and you fly on a Saturday. It's going to be much cheaper than if you fly to Brussels, or London during the week. Guess why Brussels, is the headquarters for NATO, Brussels is the headquarters for the International Court, Brussels headquarters, the European Union. So because of that, it's washington dc on steroids. There's all these people coming back and forth, staying there, and they filling all these very expensive very nice hotels. However, they all go home on Friday.
When they go home. Those hotels are empty.
They lose the money. So, the planes are also empty. So what you do is you buy a ticket that flies on weekend. Like Saturday or Sunday. And guess what, the prices are going to be much lower than they would be if you put them during. So that's an example. Once you get to Brussels, you can take a train from there to anywhere in Europe. Or you can fly on one of the cheap airlines like EasyJet.
Or you might actually consider getting some climate rescue. But you get the idea.
Another example another idea. If you're planning a trip with two or three countries price out around the world ticket, it around the world or an RTW ticket can actually sometimes be cheaper than flying to two or three destinations on a point to point ticket, two or three point to point tickets. For example, if you fly. New York to Paris and Paris to Peking. I mean Beijing, and from Beijing to Tokyo and then back to JFK that might actually be cheaper than a flight from New York to Beijing to Tokyo to JFK. It all depends on the number of locations, stops that you made, and the class was service, and the availability of seats. So, sometimes you can make out better with an RTW ticket. And because they'll throw in some other stops, because they have to because they can't give me a direct charter flights are sometimes an option as well. You have to figure the cost to the miles against the price of the flight, but you may get a better deal by just paying on the charter flight. Once we got a flight, a united flight from Shanghai to JFK very cheap, but after we got on the flight. We found out that it was the baby flight. It was a plane full of Chinese babies who had been recently adopted by Americans, We. I was a teacher for 30 years, I'd love children. Don't think I'm like, I'm, I don't.
18 hours of crying, screaming babies is a bit much. So, but it was a very cheap flight.
Same thing that's when we decided to try to focus this class.
But if you're willing to put up with the discomfort is worth it. And it wasn't that bad because in the end I wound up being seated next to this guy Marshall he was a really nice guy. Really nice conversation,
a travel agent is also an option. Yes, there are still a few like. If you go to one to an ethnic neighborhood and go to a travel agent there. they'll know the cheapest flight to a particular destination, because the locals travel back and forth loser relatives and take money. If you're going to Jamaica, West Indies, for example, ask a travel agent in Jamaica, Queens, they'll put you on the cheapest American Airlines Flight. If you're going to Asia to China Taipei, Taiwan, go to Chinatown. Ask a travel agent there. They'll know the cheapest flight. If you're going to go for a certain thing even don't call it festival time, because that's when they're all flying planes will be full. Unless you can get on a charter, which case then they'll be cheaper. Sometimes the cheapest flight can even be combined with a charter for even greater savings. Here's some of the sites that I found useful. Over the years for planning my travel, they're all reliable and trustworthy and free. There are other sites that you can use that charge annual fees or whatever, I found that usually they're not worth it. These are the ones that are the best ones I use the first five ones on the list all the time. Honorable Mention is wrong to real calm, Rome to Rio is really just my entertainment site. Because, Rome to Rio will tell you how to get from anywhere to anywhere. If you want to know how to get to from York to London, they will give you every possible combination and every possible way that you can do. Plane train
every day, very mean.
So, Rome to Rio is a very useful site.
And I think that just about finishes and so let's go to conclusion. So
remember, the three things besides three takeaways. Join every frequent flyer program you can, the worst airlines have the best program, and you do not have to necessarily fly on that airline with your credit card statements, blogs, website, email, to find out ways that you can collect the miles and make sure you use them by those expiration dates, and by miles when they go on sale. So, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. So there's no way we can tell you everything that we learned about traveling the miles. We didn't discuss hotels or other modes of transportation. But me, but you have our email addresses. Thank you for your time and attention stay safe, wear a mask, and God bless you.
Thank you. Bye.
Thanks Marjorie. Those are some great tips and great stories. So, Have you always been travelers and how did you get started in travel hacking.
Well, what happened was one of my hobbies has always been trying to find ways to travel cheaply and it just became more and more of an all consuming passion. I tell everyone all my hobbies trying to beat the man. And I develop different strategies and I'm constantly doing it, it's like, people call me and they'll say what are you doing I'm saying, Oh, I'm looking at airline fares.
So have you been traveling your whole lives or was this a recent thing.
Well, I've known Marjorie since she was 17. When we met in college when she was a wife when she was about 25. I said to her. You ever been on a cruise, and she said, No, because it's something my family used to do every year without fail, it was our vacation. So Marjorie said, No, and I said, Okay, let's take a cruise and she said well I don't know I might get sick. I said, Don't worry, you won't get sick so I took on please and she had a really great time. And it was a really short little cruise around on Florida for just down to the Caribbean for like three days. And then when we got off the ship I said, Did you have a good time, she said, Yeah, I said, good, because next year we're going to Russia. Yeah,
it was made out of water by the hurricane
made us Miss support, but it was still good. And the next year we went to Europe, in which case we encountered a really rough sea at the North Sea and the waiter was handing out seasickness pills at the dinner table. But despite those first two experience experiences I still went went on with cruising
because I really like a lot of people say I'm going to save my money and go when I retire, and I say to them, that is the worst thing you can do, because as you get older you get weaker you get sicker you get more responsibilities. And if you wait until you're old and sick and weak, you're not going to have a good time anyway. Go now. Go while you can, because you don't know the place that you want to go to may not be there next year,
yes political situations change as
well, you're probably saving questions for that so
yeah so you know with this idea of being able to to travel on a budget. What are your favorite online resources for hacking the travel system.
Well, as I put in the video. I'm, some of them. My absolute favorite thing is matrix, ita.com. The reason is because it, unlike some of the other ones like skyscan on whatever matrix gives you the exact price, including taxes and fees and everything, so you know exactly what is the most expensive what is the cheapest price that you can pay if you buy it. So then you have to try to beat that. Whereas if you went to something else like Expedia, you might they don't necessarily fill you in on all the details.
Okay. So do you have any tips or tricks for hacking through the taxes and fees. When you buy flights mileage plans mileage points.
Okay, one of the best ones is check and see what Airport has the cheapest fees for landing because landing fees saved up a great percentage of your price of your own ticket, believe it or not, landing fees can't be charged two miles, they have to be done in cash. So one example is if you fly into London Heathrow which most people do coming from the United States, they're paying 300 and something dollars in fees. If you fly into either Hamburg, or Amsterdam schipol, you're only going to pay about $6 in fees.
Wow, that's a big difference.
So that's one way of limiting it. Another way is sometimes you can shift it around so that the fees are not as large, because you can get your, there are ways of eliminating them and I can't think of any right now off the top of my head, other than that. Okay.
So what kind of hacks are there for using airline miles for other things like cruises or for like hotels or anything like that.
Well, we always say that. Recently, I used to say, Don't use your miles for other things, because you didn't get the value out of them. But SPG group which used to be the best one for airlines recently got sold Marriott Corp. And Marriott Corp devalued the miles for airlines, so now it's probably better to use the Marriott models, the Marriott bonvoy miles for hotels rather than for airlines, because that way you can save money in that respect.
So we've just got about a minute left. One last question, how do you think in the post COVID world will affect mileage programs and usage Will. Will it be more fire sales will there be other alternative uses, what do you think
it's hard to say because no one really knows what's going to happen post COVID. I suspect Marjorie thinks that they probably won't travel as much. I suspect it's going to change that people will travel more because they're dying to get out of their house. And I think they're going to be less afraid of getting sick than they are right now.
Well, I think that aliens are going to have to be more flexible with changes and cancellations and they haven't passed. Until this, I mean, they really have no choice until this situation stabilizes and I don't really think it's going to stabilize anytime soon.
But do you think the wireless programs will stay will they get rid of them or do you think they'll stay around
miles programs would definitely stay around, because there's the. It's the only thing keeping some of these airlines have float. In fact, Avianca right now is running a FIPS 180% sale on the miles, just to get you to buy miles, because that's an infusion of cash,
why that's excellent to know. All right, we're at the top of the hour so we really appreciate your taking the time today to share these tips and tricks with us and behalf of all the 2020 attendees and presenters and volunteers. Thank you again for for for presenting to us. So we hope you have a great day and we keep on hacking out there.
So come back to the top of the hour for our next talk securing remote workforce securing a remote workforce in the face of COVID-19 and planning for the future. Over to you 2020 hook Ground Control.
Hello hackers. My name is Fred. Some of you may know me. Others might not. I've been doing artwork for the hackers on planet earth conferences since. The fifth hope was the first one. I worked on the last one to the circle of hope and put together a little graphic for you this year for the 2020 conference. Now, you saw the graphic already, but what you didn't see is I've put a few easter eggs. We're going to update the site, with the this new interactive version of the, of the image. If you click on the buttons right here,
you'll see that you can change the letters.