The kind of traveling I enjoy usually involves choosing the destination by finding incredible (or at least reasonable) deals, rather than picking a place off the top of my head; this suits me fine, as I literally want to go everywhere. Also, it is quite rare for one to choose a destination for their next travel and happen across a fare sale for it, and I’ve come to acknowledge this travel law.

As a practitioner of travel hacking to accomplish my frequent, low-cost jaunts, there is one website that I follow almost religiously: FlyerTalk.com. FlyerTalk.com is a forum website that has come to be known as the go-to resource for savvy travelers. It revolves mainly around forums for each major airline frequent flier program, but has become so diverse that you can find answers to virtually all your travel-related questions.

Before I start explaining the basics of the various important sub-forums on FT, I want to share this one thing that compelled me to explain this website to those who don’t know about it. Yesterday, when I was doing one of my daily scans of new posts on the site, I came across an unbelievable offer: roundtrip airfare on United/Continental Airlines from NYC to Chicago for $64, all taxes and fees included! Can you believe that shit? It was listed as a $10 fare each way, with the other $44 going towards the fuel surcharge and taxes. It was a rare super sale or mistake from United Airlines, and I tried to get as many consecutive weekend flights there so that I could visit my best friend. I was a bit too late, as the forum posters alerted me that this deal was gone about an hour before I came across it. Nonetheless, just seeing something like this should make you want to check FT constantly like I do, as well.

Ok, now let’s talk about the different forum rooms on FlyerTalk:

Mileage Programs

First, locate the navigation tab at the top of the page:

Here you should choose the “Miles & Points” Forum, which is the foundation of this great website. Below, there are a few sub-forums followed by almost every major airline frequent flier/mileage program that you could think of. If you are a member of one or more, or if you just have a question as you decide on which program you’d like to be a part of, these specific sub-forums are the best places to go for the latest information. And it’s not just up-to-date info that can be found here, but also limited-time offers on bonus mileage, secret sales, and everything else related to that airline program. If you have a question, even one as trivial as which seat is the best for a tall person on a Boeing 787, you can ask it there, though it may (probably) have been asked already. The people who are constantly on the forums and FT website are among the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever had the chance to read posts from.

Mileage Run Deals

This sub-forum, found also under the “Miles & Points” Forum, is my favorite forum in the world. Several dozen mileage run deals are posted each day, and this is the way I find my next trip, most times. This is how I booked my Great 2012 Mileage Run, after reading a post on FT about it. That time I was on the site when it was posted and had no problems getting the deal. Also, that $64 roundtrip ticket, NYC-ORD? Yes, that was found in this forum also.

Mileage Run Discussion

This is where the geeks talk, and amateurs like me come to eavesdrop. This sub-forum is where many of the elite travel hackers come and work out problems and brainstorm new ideas on how to get the most free flights for their mileage, or the most earned mileage for their flights. This has been the single most-useful tool that I’ve used to teach me the basics and more of navigating the world of hacking airfare and accommodations and frequent traveler programs.

If you are a budget traveler, or if you simply want to be in the know when great deals come out regarding travel, FlyerTalk is my most recommended website. No, I did not get sponsored to post this, but it does sound like it, huh?

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