Preface: Yesterday, Alaska Airlines, one of the best mileage programs to use for flights on Cathay Pacific, Emirates and more gutted the ability to use miles on Emirates without notice. They accuse “travel hacking” of being the reason for doing so without notice…

Oh I’m sorry, did I break into Airline HQ, code my own airfares, create miles out of thin air and then travel the world in first class on a shoestring? Nope, I didn’t and no one ever has. There is no such thing as travel hacking. Remove the idea from your brain. There is however a thing called knowledge, it’s powerful…

Airlines are recording record profits and revenue streams, partly in thanks to selling miles. Why sell miles? They are a nearly fictitious currency with virtually zero regulation, allowing airlines to sell the idea of discounts or future free flights for cash in hand right now, with no one there to slap them on the wrist if they change the rules, without notice. You see, most people never even use their miles, or they use them very poorly. Airlines love it, and they bet on you doing exactly that. For years, it’s worked, they’ve been right.

As travel rewards entered pop culture, airlines simply couldn’t turn away the possible revenue streams to offer points, miles and rewards. Credit cards, shopping, sleeping, eating, test driving cars, the ways to earn are endless. Ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching. All of a sudden, more people than last year, more people than last month and more people than yesterday knew the basic principles of using miles, and some even know the best ways to use them. That’s because people like me, and many before me, set up free resources to help others travel better, more frequently. We didn’t file the fares, we didn’t set the miles, we just learned, adapted and shared.

Is that hacking?! NO! Like a good student, I read every airline’s policy for using miles, how many miles I need for each destination, how many stops I can make; and which airline partners I’m allowed to fly on. I read the rules, I follow them, and just like any professional in any other business, I do my best to make the most out of the rules set in front of me. I’ve taken hundreds of thousands of dollars of flights, in classes I never imagined, paying just a fraction of that along the way. I’m just operating intelligently in a system I did not create. That’s not travel hacking, it’s travel education. Travel hacking doesn’t exist. You offer the rewards, you set the rules for using them, you change the game, we just adapt, we’re no longer idiots. Sorry if that’s inconvenient…

As Always, Get In Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com