Travel Hacking Cartel Takes Off In Madagascar


Earlier this year, we launched the Travel Hacking Cartel, the world’s leading service for aspiring adventurers.

The service was recently featured in a major story on NPR, Forbes, and the Yahoo home page—all on the same day! It was exciting, but also stressful, since I was working from Madagascar and had no idea that so much coverage would hit.

Having slept through most of the North American day, I woke up in the morning (Africa time) to find 800+ new members had joined the Cartel, and we also had no shortage of problems as part of the server had gone down from all the traffic.

Thankfully, Nicky the genius developer came to the rescue and got everyone sorted, with new login links and other support. All’s well now.

Speaking of the Cartel, I haven’t said much about it here on AONC since the launch. This is by design, as my business goal is for it to grow largely on its own, without a lot of pimping here. Nevertheless, once in a while I’ll post an update, and getting all the press last week gives me a good excuse.

While I’m packing up for a long trek back from Africa (TNR-JNB-DXB-LHR-SEA-PDX), here’s a short, much-abridged list of everything we’ve some of the deals we’ve shared with our members since the launch a few months ago. Not every deal works for everyone, of course, but our goal is to send members 2-4 actionable items every week that will collectively add up to big rewards.

Partial, Abridged, Shortened List

  • The Massive 100,000 Mile British Airways Visa Card Offer (hundreds of our group successfully applied)
  • The Monster 110,000 Capital One Miles Offer (another big deal)
  • 15% Discount on all Virgin America Flights
  • Free Marriott Rewards Gold Status for 90 Days
  • 35% Off 2-Night Stays at All Radisson Hotels
  • 10% Off Reservations
  • 250 Hawaiian Airlines Miles
  • 20% Off EasyJet Flights throughout Europe
  • $30 Amazon Gift Certificate
  • $50 Voucher on All Lufthansa Flights, Valid Worldwide
  • 2,000 U.S. Airways Miles for One Phone Call
  • Free Silver Elite Status with BMI (Star Alliance)
  • Free Status Matching from Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • 5,000 Point Priority Club Bonus for 3 Nights
  • $100 Off Southwest Airlines Vacations
  • 1,000 Extra Hilton Points for Every Stay through June
  • Spend $35, Get a $75 Expedia Gift Card
  • 2,500 Hilton Points for One Phone Call
  • 5,000 Free Spirit Airlines Miles
  • U.S. Airways 75% Bonus on Sharing Miles
  • 2,000 Easy AA Miles for Completing a Form
  • 2,000 Malaysia Airlines Miles
  • $75 Gift Card for 2-Night InterContinental Stay
  • AmEx Canada Offer for 50,000 Aeroplan Miles
  • A Way to Join Air New Zealand’s $50 Airpoints Program for Free
  • 40% Bonus on AmEx Transfers to Delta
  • Free Hertz Weekend Rental
  • 500 Priority Club Points
  • Free Hilton Silver Status (+Gold after 4 Stays)
  • 250 Alaska Air Miles for One Survey
  • 500 Amtrak Points
  • Up to 25,000 Marriott Points for Referring Friends
  • Free Priority Club Platinum Status for 90 Days
  • 500 Delta SkyMiles for Car Insurance Quote


The list goes on and on—that’s less than half of it.

More important than the list is how the service actually helps our users. Here are a couple of quick stories that illustrate this well:

“As of December 28, 2010, the combined total for my frequent flier accounts was 8,485 miles. By the end of June 2011, that number will reach 207,555. My wife and I haven’t even flown in the last four months!

We’ve already booked awards flights to Hawaii in September, and if we’d paid for them, we would have spent over $1,400. So, yes, I’d say the tiny investments in the Frequent Flyer Master eBook and Travel Hacking cartel were worth it. Keep rocking the universe!”
– Austin Church


“I want to tell you that even if I didn’t go the way of the Master Hacker … my wife and I should have at least six domestic Round-Trip tickets by the end of the summer.

I’ve always wanted to travel, not just domestically, but abroad, and I believe continuing to work the system will make that opportunity easier and come sooner. Well worth my investment! Keep it coming.” – Derek Epperson


“I joined the THC because I had been reading your blog since last summer and wanted to see what it was all about. I was a bit skeptical because I can’t get any credit cards at the moment so I thought it might not be worth my time or money. However, in less than one month, one tip from you saved me 30% off a Virgin American flight that I was taking in a few months. I also now have 10,000 Hilton Honors points from another THC tip. There isn’t any way I would be able to do this on my own. Needless to say, I am keeping my membership in the Cartel! Thank you.” – Gayle Thompson

If you haven’t checked out the Cartel yet, you can do so here.

This isn’t a sales pitch … if you have the time and dedication, you can also conduct your own travel hacking without the service. The value-add of the Cartel is to give it to you directly without all the research, and tell you what you need to know in order to see the world on a budget. So far, so good.


In my own travel news, I’m beginning the long, slow journey back home after two weeks in Africa. The trip takes me back through Johannesburg, up and over to Dubai, over to London, and then way over to Seattle before hopping on down to PDX. Oh, and to get there I have to start off in Antananarivo, Madagascar … as I said, it takes a while.

I hope all is well with you wherever you are in the world. (Feel free to tell me where that is on this Google+ post.)



Image: Travel Hacking Meetup at WDS 2011

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