After traveling over 400,000 miles in the clouds I can tell you what are the best frequent flyer tools – online apps and websites that will help you save tones of your precious time. I use each of those every time I’m traveling.
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Tools to Find Accommodation
Whenever I want to stay in the hotel I always use booking.com. It’s trustworthy, reliable and I had never issues with them.
You can join their two-level loyalty program – Genius. To unblock the second level you have to book 5 stays within 2 years. In return, you get lifetime membership, 10-15% discount or free breakfast in selected offers.
Airbnb is the best if you want to visit city centers and spend your vacations. First of all, using Airbnb you can find accommodation where it’s really difficult to find any hotel and on top of that you can always find good bargains (even half the price of the hotel).
Sometimes I use it even for my business trips – as an example, if there are fairs in the city, it’s almost impossible to find a hotel at a reasonable price. Then Airbnb is the last resort. Use this link for your first Airbnb booking and you will get a 25 EUR discount for your first stay.
Tools to Plan Your Flights
When I fly for the first time to a new location I always check possible connections using flightconnections.com. I find this tool really useful as it’s one-pager with a simple interface. You just click on the desired airport and you see all routes.
This is the best way to find direct flights from airports near you.
You can also book with flightconnections.com your flight, but I prefer to use:
Skyscanner (Best for Europe)
Skyscanner.com is one of the most popular flight search engines in Europe where you can apply a lot of filters and criterions to find the most suitable flight for you. Really convenient to use and search for flights.
Hint: Do not get too much excited when you see a low price. Skyscanner is not the final ticket provider – they redirect you to merchants and I had a few issues when I was trying to buy a really bargain ticket but just after I hit the button “Purchase” the message saying that my ticket was already sold appeared and they offered me more expensive one.
Since 2009 you can book with Skyscanner not only flights but also a hotel and rent a car.
Expedia (Best for the US)
Expedia.com is one of the largest American travel booking websites. It’s not only flights – you can book there hotels, cars and vacation packages.
The good thing is that they have a loyalty program where earned points can be redeemed for a stay in any hotel brand that is different from other loyalty programs.
Before I hit the button “book the flight” I always check my seats on SeatGuru. You will find there seat maps from 172 airlines and ~1300 airplanes including details like power connections, onboard wifi access, and other airplane equipment.
Tripit is one of my favorite frequent flyer tools. It enables you to have all your trip itineraries in one place in an easy and clear view. It’s enough to forward your flight confirmation to email@example.com and your itinerary is created automatically.
You can forward there not only your flight tickets. Car rental, hotels – send it to Tripit and it will sort it and put in order (see screens below).
Jet Lag Rooster
How does it work? The usage is pretty simple – you provide your flight data and you get your sleep plan. Jet Lag Rooster will tell you when and how long you should sleep to minimize the jet lag effect.
Miles and More from Star Alliance and Flying Blue from Sky Team are the most popular loyalty programs honored by most of the airlines in their alliances. That’s really convenient as it’s always better to have one or two loyalty programs apps than ten or more.
Why? From my point of view, there are three main reasons why it is worth to collect airline’s loyalty points:
- Priority boarding privilege
- Lounge access – live-saving in case of delays or cancelations
- You are on the top of the list for rebooking in case of flight cancelation
Tools to Control Your Flight Status
Why you need it? I’ll tell you how I use it. Usually, before I go to the airport I check if the inbound flight is on time. Just search your flight number, then find the option to show all the routes and if you know where the plane is coming from you can check if it is on time or in delay. This enables me to estimate the right time to leave home and go to the airport.
Additionally, you can check there statistics of your flight and exact time of arrival and departure – it helps sometimes to collect the data to claim your delayed flight.
If you are a frequent flyer, then My Flightradar24 will helps you understand the distances, and amount of hours you spend in the air. Take a look at my stats below – just in 2019 so far: 58 flights, ~90 000 miles, and 205 hours in the air so far. What is great, you can connect My Flightradar24 with your TripIt account and all your past and upcoming travels will be shown on the map:
Tools for Car Rental
Europcar is the car rental I use. In my opinion, it’s the best choice in Europe where Europcar is one of the major players in the car rental market.
I keep staying with them because of a cool loyalty program where you can spend you points on free rental days.
When I’m leaving Europe I use Rentalcars to search for the best offer. They offer all the major brands but also exotic and local ones… so be careful – in the end, the cheapest offer is not always the cheapest one.
Must-Have Tools Just After Landing
Whenever I face issues with my flight like significant delay or cancellation I file the claim via AirHelp. It’s the no win no fee claim management company which helps people get the compensation for a delayed or canceled flight.
There are many companies that help people to claim their disrupted flights but according to my research AirHelp is the major player in this market with the best reputation confirmed by thousands of positive reviews on Trustpilot. Imagine that they managed to get my money back in the case where I failed twice claiming the flight on my own. This is the must-have among all frequent flyer tools.
Where to eat? What to see? All these questions appear when I visit new countries or new cities. In 99 cases out of 100, I use Tripadvisor to do my research. In my opinion, currently, it’s the best way to find good restaurants and the best sight points.
The only problem that when you are in a very busy location like Barcelona or Amsterdam city center, then 100% sure that all restaurants from the Tripadvisor’s top ten are fully booked… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Is it only my experience or you have the same?
Ok, so you arrived in the foreign country and Tripadvisor helped you find the best restaurant in your neighborhood, the meal was great and now you have to pay. I rarely pay with cash, especially when I’m abroad, and recently I was really angry with my bank because they charged me a lot for cash withdrawal and increased commission for paying with the card abroad to 3% of transaction value…
Finally, I found Revolut – a prepaid card and app which you can use to pay with no fees in over 150 countries using a contactless MasterCard or Visa. And it’s super easy to do that. This is another one of the must-have frequent flyer tools
There are countries in this world where free internet does not exist. If you want to go to China for example, then you have to forget about Google, Facebook, Dropbox, YouTube, and all other most popular sites and apps in the world.
Why? Because China built a Great Firewall which is filtering all connections from Chinese territory. But ther is a way to do deal with that. You have to use a VPN service. VPN is like an underground tunnel beneath the wall – you connect with the server in Europe, America or Australia which is not on the banned servers list and this server connects to all restricted sites.
The problem is that there is no free VPN service that is working in China – you have to use a paid app. I personally use PureVPN. I buy a one-month subscription whenever I go to China. And here is my tip – don’t forget to click that you don’t want to prolong each month. I did not notice this checkbox and they billed me again next month. As soon as I noticed that and claimed they returned the money. If you would like to read more about that you can read about my research on the VPN market suitable for China.
Next on my frequent flyer tools list is Uber. In case you do not have an organized airport pickup, this is the best what you can do after arriving late at night in a foreign country.
The only problem with Uber is that it’s banned in some countries. Just to name a few of these: Denmark, Spain, Hungary and in 2016 left China due to the pressure from a local competitor Didi Chuxing. That’s why it’s worth to know some more alternatives like:
Free Now (former myTaxi)
FreeNow is former myTaxi. The difference to Uber is mainly that you are driving with a licensed taxi driver. The rest is similar pretty similar.
Google Maps are one of the obvious frequent flyer tool but I use it so often that it’s not possible to skip it. Besides China, you can use it everywhere and it’s the best tool to get where you want. It even works great with trains and metro stations.
And even you know the way – you still need it. Google Maps checks the traffic and propose you the fastest way. I really don’t know how many hours this app saved in my life.
Another one from Google. Google Translate is sometimes a life-saving app. Write or say what you want in English and Google Translate will say it in Chinese or any other language you want.
Here is the tip – download in advance all the frequently used languages. This will prevent you from the situation that nobody knows what you are talking about and internet connection is dead…
Check also the live translation – just click the camera pictogram and direct it to the text in a foreign language to get an immediate translation.
I guess that after each trip you want to share some photos and videos with friends and family. And I guess that the only reason why you are not doing this is because video editing seems to be rocket science for you.
Well, that was also my case. And I can tell you that when I installed GoPro Quik I was shocked that using so less effort you can edit such great videos. The app is for free and enables you to use not only GoPro videos but all you have in your device plus photos.
You can check some samples on my YouTube channel.
Frequent Flyer Tools in One Place
Well, that would be all for now. This list of 21 frequent flyer tools will definitively help you a lot.
I will update it whenever I find something useful. If you want, leave me your email address in the box below and I will notify you about updates:
Featured image source: pixabay.com