Travel hacking for non-Americans 6


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Travel hacking is extremely easy and common in the United States. In our previous articles on travel rewards programs, a common comment has been the need for more information specific to non-Americans. In this month’s article, we’ll tackle the topic of travel hacking for non-Americans.

To be sure, the travel hacking game is a lot easier for Americans and Canadians. There are a vast number of opportunities to earn both frequent flyer and hotel loyalty points from a wide range of companies. Additionally, there are also a number of lesser-known or more unusual travel hacks.

The South Island of New Zealand.

The good news for non-Americans is that you can replicate the hack on a smaller scale. From the United Kingdom to New Zealand, you can earn points and miles with your airline of choice. Nearly every airline that flies an international route has some sort of loyalty scheme. It’s absolutely possible to hack these programs.

In the last couple of years, the number of travel rewards credit cards available outside the United States has exploded. For example, for Europeans, Lufthansa offers a Miles & More credit card and British Airways offers a credit card earning Avios points – both offer a hefty 50,000 mile sign-up bonus. And both of these programs can be successfully hacked by securing sign-up bonuses, canceling the credit card and then repeating the process.

Travel hacking for non-Americans is possible.  Airlines like Lufthansa offer Europeans the opportunity to get into the travel hacking game.

In the U.S., the biggest travel hacks come through manufactured spending. But this is not limited only to Americans. There are manufactured spending options available to non-Americans as well. In the UK, both Tesco and Nectar offer loyalty programs that allow you to earn points from shopping which are redeemable for flights and miles. If you are smart about your spending, you can generate large numbers of points and miles to be used for future travel.

Travel hacking for non-Americans is possible in places like The United Kingdom, where stores like Tesco offer consumers the chance to generate airline miles for daily purchases.

Travel hacking is highly localized. The best travel hacks are the ones that work for you. For example, if you live in London and fly out of Heathrow, generating rewards with an airline that doesn’t fly from the UK might be of little benefit. That may seem obvious, but we’ve seen travelers do similar things (for example, Americans generating loyalty points with airlines in Europe or Asia). One recommendation is that if you live outside the United States, we encourage you to find local websites, forums or social media groups to join and learn local tips. We’ve found these groups to be highly valuable.

Just because you don’t live in the United States doesn’t mean you need to forego the game – travel hacking for non-Americans is absolutely possible!

Do you have any tips or hacks for those outside the US?


About Lance and Laura

Working a 50-hour-per-week desk job with only 3 weeks of vacation per year doesn't mean you can’t see the world. Since 2008, Laura and Lance Longwell have been blogging at Travel Addicts, writing about how to maximize a North American vacation allotment while cave tubing in Belize, cruising the Nile in Egypt, or exploring the French Quarter of New Orleans. Laura and Lance have pretty much always had the travel bug. When he was a child, Lance’s parents ensured he saw all 50 U.S. states by the age of 15. Laura’s parents sent her to England for a month in preparation for moving halfway across the U.S. for college in Manhattan. Over the last 15 years, they have traveled together across 5 continents taking in street art, food markets, music, and the tasty beverages of their various destinations. Business travel and a desire to mix convenience with value have led them to use frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty programs regularly to offset the costs of travel and gain upgrades (who doesn't want to fly first class to Paris?). They write about their experiences with points and miles, teaching others the art of travel hacking. Read about Laura and Lance’s travels at Travel Addicts, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for their latest updates.

6 thoughts on “Travel hacking for non-Americans

  • The Guy

    Good to see that this myth of no opportunities outside the US has been disproven.

    As a UK based traveller I know there are options to travel hack if that is what you want to do. I discussed this at length last year in my book which I published on Amazon about frequent flyer schemes.

    More and more credit cards linked with airlines are available, often via the houses of American Express or MBNA (for the UK at least).

    Shopping loyalty cards as you mention are good examples. Don’t forget car hire and hotel loyalty schemes which are also a good source if you use these anyway.

    • Lance and Laura Post author

      Thanks for your comment. You make a good point about car hire and hotel schemes. We’ve covered those in other articles, but it is worth repeating. Thanks!

  • Peter Korchnak @ Where Is Your Toothbrush?

    As a dual USA/Slovakia citizen, I’ve found the best travel hack, if you can even call it that, to use my European Union passport in countries that require Americans to pay reciprocity or visa fees (Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile until recently). On a recent trip I saved some $300 by using my Slovak passport!

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