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How one man used an air-miles loophole to book £40,000 worth of flights for £200

The Independent logo The Independent 30/10/2015 Emma Henderson
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A man used a loophole in an air-miles scheme to book £40,000 worth of flights around the world for under £200.

Sam Huang used credit card schemes and the absence of routing rules in the flight booking system to secure the series of first-class flights with Emirates airline that included around-the-world stop-overs for just £196. 

Like many other people before him, Mr Huang took out lots of credit cards with air miles and began racking up points. 

Using seven of these cards, he collected his miles over a few months. However, calling himself the “infrequent flier”, he explained that he didn’t accumulate his miles by booking lots of flights. 

The majority of banks have limitations on how often rewards bonuses can be earned, but Mr Huang found a loophole to get him stop-overs on a flight from Singapore to New York.  

He used Bank of America credit cards, which had an agreement with Alaska Airlines, who are a Mileage Plan partner of Emirates.

After collecting around 100,000 miles, Mr Huang booked his ticket. 

He told Mashable: “So most airlines, when you book a trip, they have a thing called routing rules to stop you from dong a crazy round the world. 

“Basically Alaska’s computers until recently didn’t have routing rules.”

He went on to explain that, without these rules, you are able to ‘nest a layover’, meaning a stop-over of no longer than 24 hours en route. 

“So I just started typing different city combinations. I nested a lot of 24-hour layovers – but in the computer it looks like Singapore to New York”, he said.

Mr Huang now spends his time teaching other people how to do the same, by writing guides on his website. 

But he warns that people must have the sufficient funds in order to pay off the monthly credit, and you must be in a point in your life where having numerous credit cards is financially viable. 

“If you can’t pay of your bills fully every month, please don’t do this game” said Mr Huang - who added that he currently had around 15 cards.

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