The Greatest Frequent Flyer Scam Of The 21st Century
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— Updated on 24 July 2020

The Greatest Frequent Flyer Scam Of The 21st Century

— Updated on 24 July 2020

How would you like to fly Business class all throughout your 20s… for free?

About 3 million frequent flyer points is all it’ll take. Which is what one cheeky punter managed to rack up during a spending spree using an Airmiles loophole that he discovered in 2012.

This enterprising individual opted to remain nameless – because he’s still travelling business class on those points to this very day – but he was more than happy to speak to BH. 

We’ve also understandably kept the carrier anonymous to save them face and remove any chance of reprisal.

Anyways, here goes…

It all started when Mr X made an eBay purchase, only to receive a damaged item. He sent it back and requested a refund, which was promptly issued. However, he noticed that the Airmiles points from the purchase remained. Rather than call the airline to suggest they’d made a mistake, our man on the inside decided to test the limits of this little known loophole.

Next up, he decided to try his luck with a more expensive purchase to really push the boundaries. “Buy it Now” was clicked, Airmiles points were accrued, and when he defaulted and the sale failed to go through… the points magically stayed.

At the time, this program was offering 2 whole points for every dollar spent. The airline then ran a double points campaign, which equated to 4 points per dollar spent. Game on.

From then on, the “purchases” only grew in price as our daring Mr X brazenly accumulated a mountain of points without actually spending a cent. Graduating from the humble t-shirt to signed sporting memorabilia, it got to the stage where $50,000 diamonds were in the mix… and the points just kept coming.

The process continued: “Buy it now”, points collected, cancel the purchase, rinse and repeat. Rinse being the operative word here.

This loophole has since covered flights for him, friends, and his partner on business class trips to: 

  • Europe (three times)
  • Africa
  • India
  • US (multiple occasions)
  • Kazakhstan
  • Whitsundays
  • and… there are a few more around-the-worlds booked for later this year. 

It’s the scam that just keeps giving. In fact, one business flight returning from the US, Mr X found himself sitting next to The Black Eyed Pea’s The two even enjoyed beers by the upper-class bar.

It’s worth noting that this all went down before the Terms & Conditions in question were updated and limits were introduced for maximum points that could be earned on purchases. Mr X may very well have had some influence on those changes.

But the best part is, the same airline he’d been jet-setting around the world on reached out via email and asked him to appear in their magazine as an advocate to promote frequent flyer perks! Mr X would oblige – the irony couldn’t be more amusing.

This dream, however, appears to be well and truly over. But then again, people were probably saying that back in 2012… the dream is always out there if you’ve got the smarts and stones to find the loophole. 

Today, as the points finally dwindle away after almost a decade of indulgent luxurious air travel, Mr X signs up for rewards credit cards just like the rest of us, and gradually chips away one ordinary purchase at a time. Heading back to cattle class just isn’t an option after you’ve grown accustomed to champagne and massages in bed at 40,000ft. 

From all of us at BH – we salute you, Mr X.

RELATED: Air New Zealand Wants To Offer Economy Travellers In-Flight Beds.

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