The would-be traveler tricked China Eastern into buying him food for a year. The man never actually took a flight; he used his first class ticket to gain access to an airport’s premium lounge, feasted on free food, and then re-booked his flexible ticket to another day. Queue the next flight time, and the process was repeated over and over again. The Chinese-language Kwong Wah Yit Poh newspaper, the source of the report, claims he did this 300 times before airline staff got wind of the ruse.
A brilliant way to recoup some of those “fees” the airlines keep piling on us!
China Eastern called the customer’s actions a “rare act”.
However, the majority of passenger victories involve mileage programs. As we know, frequent-flyer miles are not solely earned by travelling. According to The Economist
, a correspondent for the American magazine Pacific Standard says he accrued more than 64,000 frequent-flyer points
-enough for a First Class transatlantic flight with Virgin Atlantic by repeatedly buying $3,000 in dollar coins from the US Mint. He promptly deposited the coins at his local bank, replenishing his funds for the next mileage-eligible purchase.
a Melbourne man earned 380,000 Qantas frequent-flyer points when his bank ran a promotion offering 100 extra points for every credit card purchase, but failed to specify a minimum amount to spend. There followed 3,800 one-cent transactions, mainly with a toll-road operator, over a three-day period.
The paper also cites the case of David Phillips, an American civil engineer who accrued 1.25 million miles by buying 12,150 servings of packaged chocolate pudding for $3,000.
Alternatively, you can try to outsmart the airline industry’s antiquated IT infrastructure with a complex ruse called “fuel dumping”. This process, whereby you dupe online booking systems into removing the fuel surcharge from your airfare (which, confusingly, has no relation to actual fuel costs), is explained by The Economist here
. Once you get your head around the concept, this website
outlines some specific strategies.
If all else fails, your only hope may be to pray for a website glitch. In September, United Airlines inadvertently sold some tickets for between $5 and $10 due to an input error. Such mistakes are surprisingly common. Delta Air Lines made a similar blunder just three months later.
Lady Luck doesn’t always smile on you, in the case of Southwest in 2012, customers who thought they were buying half-price tickets ended up being charged up to 20 times each for their bookings.