Many have asked, why I choose Peru and Brazil for this trip. Simply put, I couldn’t pass up the price deal I’m about to explain, and they were both on the list of countries to yet visit.
The total deal is far better than the title eludes. For $243 I received
- A flight from Orlando International to Lima, Peru, where I’ll spend 3 weeks.
- A connecting flight from Lima to Iguazu, Brazil, for 4 weeks
- A flight returning home from Iguazu to Orlando.
- 3 first class ticket upgrade vouchers
- A bit over 100,000 airline points good for future flights. (worth 2 more round trip tickets to South America)
Before I get into the details, I didn’t do anything special that anyone else couldn’t do. I merely paid attention to detail and acted when the time was right. If you’re not familiar with the concept of “travel hacking” “miles or points” accumulation, tack ticks and games. Simply google them. There are a plethora of budget travel blogs explaining how to do what I’m about to explain I just did, to receive this incredible deal. I’ve been reading a half-dozen budget travel hacking bloggers for years, and this isn’t the first time I’ve went somewhere on a dirt cheap deal. In 2013 I flew 1st class both ways from Tampa to South Africa for nothing but taxes and airport fees. There’s nothing special and no pixie dust to what happened with me, but a few things to note, if you want to successfully take advantage of the type deal (there are other types) I explain in this post…….
- You must have extremely flexible travel dates
- Your destination must be open to where the deal is headed
- You must be wiling to act ie buy a ticket within 12 hours or less of finding out the deal or you’ll loose out (most deals are gone within a few hours)
- You must pay attention to detail and read ALL and I mean ALL the fine print
- Have an inquisitive, curious mind of what else you can do to cheapen the price
Note there are deals like this almost every month going from somewhere in the USA to somewhere else in the world. And trust me, I’m going to be taking advantage of them when I can to extend my funds while I building a blog following.
Earlier this year, while working towards the goal of paying off my house and closing down my recruiting practice so I could transform into a travel blogger, I read through a daily stream of email I receive from many travel deal sites. This particular notice was sent from The Flight Deal. The notice was for a flight from Orlando To Brazil for something in the low $300 on select dates throughout the last few months of 2015. It immediately caught my eye, as the departure point is close to home. Most of the time when I see these deals the aren’t anywhere near Tampa, which is home for me. Also it was 6 month out and based on my last few client commitments the timing seemed about right. And of course, I hadn’t been to Brazil yet. So I jumped into the details. The Flight Deal, linked to the specifics of the flight. In the small print, this was a deal through LAN airways, an American Airlines partner, and the largest South American Airline. In particular it was only good on LAN PERU, the flight had to be one from Orlando to Iguazu connecting through LIMA and it was only good on “select” dates, and the ticket terms allowed one stopover.
What’s a stopover, you may ask. Many airline tickets offer this availability with few customers knowing it. A stopover, is a stop/layover over 24 hours at a connecting airport to your destination point. So in this case, since the terms of the ticket were Orlando to Iguazu with a mandatory connection in Lima which allows one stopover, it means I could stop in Lima either on the way to Iguazu or on the way home but not both. Due to scheduling, I took the former and am presently on a 3 week stopover/connecting flight towards my destination of Iguazu at no extra cost.
With the knowledge of the stopover, my excitement grew even more. Not only was it dirt cheap to Brazil, but now I could include Peru too…Hell, yeah, I was in, and within a few more hours of researching possible dates, I’d booked a non-refundable, non-transferable, non-changeable ticket. Note, if I didn’t do the research right that instant, I’d have missed on this particular opportunity. The deal was gone in less than a day.
The meat. Being informed of the details from reading the fine print, I used the Google Matrix flight search engine to find days this particular fair was available. I used their flexible date search feature and entered a max 7 day variable date range and performed dozens of searches for 30-90 day windows.
This tool is merely to search for dates on flights and prices. One can’t buy through this site. I was hunting for the days this deal was good as the airlines won’t simply tell you. It would have been easy if all I wanted to do was book a ticket with a typical connecting pattern to Brazil and back. However, I wanted my free stopover in Peru on this deal. So therefore I had to find the deal not only good for days to Iguazu but the connection flight days as well. Ie my stopover days had to have the same deal available on the days I’m to fly as well. Let’s just say, a couple hundred search quires and about 3 hours I’d finally pieced together what flights on what days would allow me to do this deal for just a bit over $300.
That’s when I went to buy. But you can’t do that on the Google Matrix flight engine. I armed myself with detailed flight specifics for the days, dates, flight purchase codes etc that the deal was available and headed to other travel sites. In this instance I used Priceline. But before I hit the buy button, I recalled, having seen an ad for a LAN airways credit card, by US bank which had some sort of deal. Hmm, let me check that out first before hitting buy. Sign up for the credit card and you’ll receive 20% off flights purchased with it, 60,000 miles, and 3 free first class upgrade vouchers. Done…and 30 seconds later my incredible $300 deal ended up costing me 243 bucks due to the 20% discount.
But wait there’s more…The LAN credit card just gave me 60,000 miles, hmm I wonder what that’s good for. Oh, that’s odd, their award chart is in Kilometers, and they convert miles to Kilometers at 1.66 kilos per mile. So by signing up for free, I scored a bit over a 100,000 kilometers to use on future flights. And what will that get me. At least 2 future coach class tickets to the northern part of South America or anywhere in Central America or Caribbean which they fly, as it only takes 48,000 kilos for a round trip ticket to those areas. Not a bad mornings investment putting other things aside to research the deal and act on it immediately.
Peru’s already awesome, and there are stories to come. But owe it seems so much sweeter when I know it hardly cost me a dime to get here. I wish I could do this every time. Trust me it doesn’t happen all the time. If you can accept the rules I laid out, you too could be occasionally traveling the world on a dime.
What about you? Have any of you scored similar deals? Who else has a travel hacking experience they’d like to share?