Sorry to regular readers for the shortage of posts lately, I’ve been suffering from a combination of computer trouble (nothing new there) and website trouble (my Google ads started breaking the site) which together made it increasingly frustrating to do anything but basic maintenance.
But I appear to have rendered the website usable again, so hopefully it will get a little livelier around here!
Today I thought I’d share some the travel hacking resources I get the most value out of. This list has changed a lot over time. When I first got into the game, my primary resources were other blogs and the FlyerTalk forums. That’s changed for two reasons: the FlyerTalk forums were redesigned and are now agonizing to navigate, which drove away users and reduced their value further, sending the site into a kind of death spiral; I haven’t visited FlyerTalk in months, if not years.
Meanwhile, I’ve mostly stopped visiting even the high-quality blogs I used to rely on, since they’ve all undergone a kind of homogenization. My working theory is that all the bloggers read the same “how-to” guide on building a reputation as an influencer, and they all adopted the exact same techniques. The most obvious example is the difference between a blog that posts when the author has something to say, and a blog that posts whether or not the author has anything to say. Worse, when a blog goes on to hire two or three additional writers it will inevitably end up with page after page of clutter before you’re able to find any useful information.
Anyway, enough grousing. While I don’t read many blogs anymore, I still consume a lot of travel hacking content. This is where I get it.
Fresh content can be overrated; I created a lot of static pages around here (sadly, now mostly out-of-date) because I wanted to be able to easily find the exact information I needed. I still rely on two static resources all the time:
My Hotel Promotions page is the first place I go when I’m planning a hotel stay. I try to keep it up-to-date, and briefly describe each promotion with a link directly to the registration page. There are a few other sites that try to do something similar, like Loyalty Lobby, but their formatting drives me nuts, and they include targeted and hyper-specific promotions (earn 500 points when you stay at a Holiday Inn Express in Mainland China!), and usually link to their own blog posts about each promotion instead of directly to the registration site itself.
Frequent Miler’s best credit card offers. The page has gotten somewhat more annoying to use over the years, but he still does a good job keeping it up-to-date, so when I just want to find out what the highest current sign-up offer is for a given credit card is, I almost always start here. Once you know the offer, if you don’t want to use an affiliate link you can usually just Google the offer terms and find a direct link to the application.
They’re not for everyone, but if you’re a podcast addict like me these are no-brainers:
Dots, Lines & Destinations. Not strictly speaking focused on travel hacking, but travel-hacking adjacent, with coverage of loyalty programs, aircraft interiors, and aviation news, along with trip reports and interviews. It’s been around at least as long as I’ve been travel hacking, and the hosts’ experience and comfort shows.
Saverocity Observation Deck. More focused on travel hacking, credit cards, reselling, and family travel (Joe also hosts a Disney-specific podcast, Disney Deciphered, for the Mouse-lovers out there). Patreon subscribers get bonus content at the end of most episodes.
Milenomics Squared. From the brains behind the Milenomics blog, this has quickly become one of my favorite travel hacking resources, as it’s focused almost entirely on earning and redeeming points. Patreon subscriptions are fairly expensive, but the additional podcast content is simply indispensable and you get access to their lively Slack channel which is a great source of datapoints for all things miles-and-points. Let me put it this way: I’m cheap, and I’m still happy to pay for this subscription.
The flip side of blogs becoming less valuable as resources is that Twitter has become much more valuable, since most bloggers tweet out a headline and a link to each new post, letting you quickly identify the ones worth reading and acting on, and the ones you can skip. I find this infinitely more convenient than subscribing to each blog in an RSS reader, which quickly fills up with all the clutter big blogs pump out these days (“The Pan Am Flight Attendant Who Gave Her Life Saving Passengers on a Hijacked Flight 33 Years Ago”).
There is a lot of repetition and clout-chasing on Twitter, so you should be sure to follow sparingly and unfollow easily. Trust me, as long as you follow 5-6 accounts, you’re not going to miss anything. With that said, here’s a starter kit for travel hacking Twitter:
@FrequentMiler. Of the biggest travel hacking blogs, still the most narrowly focused on miles and points, with very few breathless headlines about people taking their shoes off on planes or whatever. The blog is cluttered but the Twitter feed lets you focus on the deals relevant to you.
@milestomemories. Coverage of broader travel deals and news.
@Drofcredit. Covers absolutely everything, which makes the blog unusable (he posts dozens of things each day) but makes the Twitter feed a great one-stop resource to keep track of current and upcoming deals. Follow @Chucksth for bonus Doctor of Credit content.
@dannydealguru. I’m not an extreme couponer but I’ve come to really appreciate Danny’s laser focus on discounts. I don’t use his deals very often, but I’m always glad to know about them.
Finally, if you end up liking the podcasts I recommended above, you should follow the hosts: @WandrMe, @ssegraves and @fozzm for Dots, Lines & Destinations, @asthejoeflies and @tmount for the Saverocity Observation Deck, and @Milenomics and @RobertDwyer for Milenomics Squared.
You are also free to follow me on Twitter, but about 2% of my tweets have anything remotely to do with travel hacking, so you probably have better things to do.