Use IHG Points At Competitor Hotel Chains

4aI know, this is a strange sounding concept, but it is what it is. IHG lets you use IHG points for non-IHG hotels. The question is whether or not it’s a good deal…

This was once again, brought to my attention by Rapid Travel Chai (thanks for being a continual source of content!). And since he told me about it, I’ve been messing around figuring out the pricing structure.

Here’s the deal:

Go to IHG Hotels Anywhere.

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Using United Miles on the Non-Star-Alliance Partner’s

United has a number of partner airlines that aren’t in Star Alliance and not well talked about. Most are smaller and don’t show up on United.com, but they could still be helpful for 1) Getting to places you didn’t know you could go, 2) finding more availability, and 3) finding better connections and direct flights.

Here’s a post discussing who these partners are, what it means for people with United miles, and how to find award availability.

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The 3 Awesome United Miles “Hopper” Flights

Guam

Once upon a time, I flew from Guam…

Somehow geeking out of extremely complicated but incredibly cheap routes became a thing of mine. Originally I flew the Pacific Hopper for 40,000 United miles in business class. (Now that flight would be more like 50,000 United miles). The next I flew was 17,500 miles to go from Virginia to Aruba, to Panama, to Puerto Rico. Not a logical “on the way” routing, but it was awesome.

 

How did I come up with it?

Simple. I wanted to fly to Puerto Rico and was going to pay the 17,500 miles anyways. So the question became, “how could I see more?” And that’s the concept- seeing more for the same price.

But then anytime I saw an absurdly low priced route, my first thought became “How far can I push the routing limits and get the most stops?” So let’s go back and show the examples of this and how it happened. I’ll start with the most complicated, but the most rewarding. On to the routes…

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Who’s Really Sold Out In This Game

I was going to call this, “a data driven look at whether or not I’ve sold out”, but that was too long. Plus at the Chicago Seminar conference  this weekend I was, what you call “inspired” to write a post naming names about who in this game has truly “sold out”.

I noticed a truly odd complaint about my blog. I won’t use the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of me going to the dark side because I did two posts this month with affiliate links.

This month.

Which really gives me such a negative view of people in this hobby. We want tons of stuff, but expect people to do for absolutely free. I mean really… would people rather I make no money at all and shut down the site?

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How We Did A Year of Hotel Stays at $19/night (Without Credit Cards)

If you’re a regular here at Travel Is Free, you know that my wife and I are full time travelers. This is basically for no other reasons than; 1) we like to travel, and 2) it’s cheaper for us to live out of hotels than it is to pay rent.

This was all a theory at one point, but now it’s proven true. For the last year and half, Carrie and I have kept track of every dime we spend and posted our expenses publicly (although the monthly summaries are easier to read). Thus, we know exactly what we spend on hotels, and even what programs are profitable.

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Cheapest Miles To Get To Europe

DSC_2814Earlier I did a Best/Cheapest Frequent Flyer Miles to Use to Hawaii and people seemed to enjoy it. And if there’s something that Americans seem to like better than Hawaii, it’s Europe. So here’s the cheapest frequent flyer miles to get to Europe.

Not only do I feel like the display of the prices and transfers is better, but there is definately more value in this post as I show a few tricks with specific routes on miles, or discounts. There are more discount awards available than you think. Lufthansa’s 50% off awards, or Air Berlin’s companion ticket at 50% off… there’s a lot to go over but I’ll try to display it as best I can.

On to the charts…

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One Amazing Award with Virgin Elevate Miles

SINGAPOREAs you know, I like playing around with programs that aren’t as popular as the main few. Like Singapore, Korean, etc…

Well, Virgin Elevate produced a great find, and I’m not sure if it’s a mistake. So I didn’t want to publicize it at first, but heck, I already have tickets to Europe and I want to make sure my readers do to. Book while it lasts.

Let me get a couple things straight.

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FAQ: How To Find Mistake Fares

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Last nights deal (now dead)

For the most part, finding mistake fares is about being a member of the community. And it’s a question that, no surprise, showed up on my FAQ page. Now there are some more complex ways to find mistake fares (that I shared in the monthly newsletter last year), but there is one really basic way that will sound a lot like self-promotion… But if I can help people, oh well.

See, I take my deal-finding skills and post on my social media accounts. This benefits really anyone who is active on the TravelisFree Facebook page (that’s how Facebook decides what to show you) or gets notifications.

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Chart of Airline Stopovers (and More)

Previously I had written a list of airline stopovers, but since then (if you didn’t notice) I’ve gone chart crazy and I’ve written about a few more airlines like Korean. This post will give both a chart of each airline’s stopover rules, and fuel surcharges.

Then I’ll go give some great posts on stopovers too.

Couple things to note about this chart. Sometimes an award is bookable as a oneway, but I put roundtrip prices because you can’t have stopovers on a oneway. The second thing is that I added a column about fuel surcharges. And even though it can say “Yes”, there may not be any fuel surcharges to pass on. So even if it does pass on fuel surcharges, there can still be partner airlines bookable with no fuel surcharges to pass on. (See: Master Chart of Avoiding Fuel Surcharges).

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