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Point Me to the Miles

Navigating the Path to Great Travel

5 Things I Learned at the Chicago Seminars

Recently, I had the pleasure to attend the Chicago Seminars, which is a gathering for bloggers extraordinaire, frequent travelers, and those that want to stretch their money to be able to travel further.

Now, I know that attendees of these events are explicitly asked to not disclose any “tidbits” picked up  In keeping with that, I won’t share anything that is “secretive,”.

The more I attend events like this and Frequent Traveler University, the more the aim becomes interacting with new and old friends alike, rather than the acquisition of new knowledge.  Still, there were a few things I managed to learn:

1.  Use Tools to Automate Travel Hacking

I learned from dlouise37 that leveraging the points game, or travel hacking as it is referred to on occasion , can be automated through applications that mimic the actions you ask them to, such as iMacro.  Thus, by signing up for a bonus just once, you can automate the process to do the same for all of your family members and friends.

2.  A Great Way to Use Alaska Miles

A program that does not get much attention is Alaska MileagePlan.  I found out that you can redeem 70,000 Alaska miles to book a First Class ticket to South Africa, WITH a stopover in Hong Kong.

3.  Rental Cars

Travel bloggers, by nature, tend to focus on miles and points.  One subject that does not get a lot of press is how to save on rental cars.  But by booking through third parties like Car Rental Savers, Priceline, and even Costco Travel, you can save money on car rentals.  Also, EuropCar can be great for some  international rentals.

Costco Travel

You Can Save BIG on Car Rentals with Costco Travel

And as for the insurance rental companies always tout, it may be worth something.  I thought that rental insurance, such as the type that the American Express Platinum card provides might be worth it.

4.  Hands On Award Booking

Award booking, as I am well aware, can be an iterative solutions.  Which is why I was elated to find out that ANA’s award search tool can search for availability, one week at a time on a particular route!

5.  ExpertFlyer

Finally, I also learned that ExpertFlyer (a paid tool) includes built-in functionality to specify the routing on a particular revenue ticket.  Thus, you can effectively select and de-select which airports, cities, or zones you fly through.  In particular, this can be useful on mileage runs, where you can choose the most advantageous (longest) routing.

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