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It bent my absorption because it characterized the abyss as “hackers,” as it appears the annexation is demography abode by accepting admission to travelers’ common flyer accounts.

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In the story, Alaska Airlines was listed because the airline’s common flyer afar were accessible for acquirement on the “dark web.”

Aboriginal off, I accede myself a “travel hacker” although I don’t appoint in this array of bent activity. Rather, I booty advantage of the “hidden in apparent sight” deals accessible to get endless of afar and credibility to advice acquit the amount of airline tickets and hotels.

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Should travelers be anxious that their common flyer accounts adeptness be hacked? I accept so. Afterwards all, actuality in Alaska the common flyer accounts are array of a accumulation anniversary for travelers who allegation to accomplish last-minute or family-emergency trips. I accept accompany who own businesses and gas up their fleets application the Alaska Airlines acclaim card. Some of them coffer upwards of a actor afar per year. So if accession afraid into their account, it could be a bad thing.

But there’s a big aberration amid a acceptable accumulation anniversary and your Breadth Plan anniversary with Alaska Airlines. With a accumulation account, you acquire a little bit of absorption on your money. But annihilation depreciates faster than airline miles. The accretion levels are activity up all the time. It’s alleged “mileage inflation” and it’s why the three abracadabra words for biking hackers are “earn and burn.” That agency you accept to acquire the miles—and afresh you accept to use them afore they lose their value.

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For example, Alaska Airlines has done a acceptable job alms deals for Breadth Plan members. But you accept to assignment for them. You can get a one-way admission from Anchorage to Seattle for as little as 10,000 miles. You accept to plan three weeks in beforehand to qualify. For the cheapest tickets, you accept to affix in Juneau. For any ceaseless flight on Friday, Oct. 19, it will amount you at atomic 20,000 afar one-way. Aboriginal chic is 60,000 afar one-way amid Anchorage and Seattle.

At those levels, you’re bigger off to buy a drillmaster admission from Anchorage to Seattle (for $152 on that date).

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In the “hacker” story, the affairs are completed application crypto-currency like Bitcoin. It’s interesting, back common flyer afar additionally are a array of adumbration bill — and that’s one reason you should use them bound afore they lose their value.

For example, you could acquire 30,000 Alaska Airlines afar aloof by accepting one of their Visa cards from Coffer of America. There’s a $75 fee and you accept to allegation $1,000 on the agenda aural 90 days. But that’s accessible if you plan on affairs airline tickets or arcade at Costco.

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I accept two of the cards — and I’ve had as abounding as three of them at once. So you could get three of the cards yourself for $225 in fees. Afterwards charging $3,000 on the cards, you could net 90,000 Alaska Airlines afar afterwards anytime dispatch on an airplane. Congratulations — you’re a biking hacker. That doesn’t accommodate the accompaniment book action that you accept with anniversary card.

These mileage-building schemes are not secrets. I’ve heard of association who commonly administer for bristles or six Alaska Airlines cards every few weeks aloof to get the bonuses. Then, afterwards they’ve accustomed the benefit afar and the accompaniment passes, they aish the cards, reapply and alpha the aeon all over again.

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Airline breadth action is aloof one affiliate in a biking hacker’s playbook, though. Auberge costs can calmly outstrip the amount of a flight. Travelers apperceive this. Banks apperceive this and the hotels apperceive it too. That’s why there’s a concentrated accomplishment to use auberge stays as allurement for travelers to get accession acclaim card.

Hilton Hotels has a abundant adherence plan alleged Hilton Honors. They’re alms a co-branded advance with American Express that comes with 125,000 Hilton Honors benefit points. The agenda costs $95 per year and there’s a “minimum spend” of $3,000 in the aboriginal 90 days. But cardholders get “gold” cachet at Hilton Hotels (including Embassy Suites, Hampton Inns and a agglomeration of added Hilton brands). Additionally included in the action are 10 chargeless airport passes from Priority Pass.

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Accession American Express action is the Starwood Preferred Guest card, which includes 100,000 SPG points. The agenda is an adapted action to accommodate Marriott Rewards, which was bankrupt into the SPG affairs back Marriott bought Starwood (Westin, Sheraton, etc.). The $95 fee is waived for the aboriginal year on this offer. Sure, 100,000 credibility is a lot, but the new SPG plan is a watered-down adaptation of the old plan, so I’m not affairs it. But if you adulation Marriott, Westin or the added hotels included in the plan, the agenda is annual considering.

In accession to hotel-only or airline-only cards, I like the “flexible spend” accolade cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. You can move the credibility about to several adherence affairs (hotel and airline), depending on your biking itinerary. I like it, decidedly the adeptness to alteration to Hyatt Hotels. Even admitting the anniversary fee is $450, there’s a $300 biking acclaim and it includes a Priority Pass associates for airport lounges. American Express additionally offers several “flexible spend” cards with their Associates Rewards plans.

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So sure, it’s a acceptable abstraction to assure your common flyer anniversary from hackers. But the best way to assure the amount is to get active and use the miles. Plus, try a little “hacking” on your own to account some added allowances on your aing trip.

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