Home Travel 23 Loopholes Travelers Found & Majorly Exploited

23 Loopholes Travelers Found & Majorly Exploited

by SharonKurheg

The world is fraught with ways to somehow beat the system. A candy machine that spits out two chocolate bars instead of one. A website that lists discount codes people have discovered. Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A.

Regardless of what you call them – loopholes, cheats, hacks, etc. – there are people who will do their best to find them. And there are other people who will do their best to use them the most they possibly can.

Back in 2016, someone on Reddit asked, What was a loophole that you found and exploited the hell out of? There were over 21,000 replies before the thread was closed. Most of them were literally “kids stuff” – how they got more tickets from a Chuck E. Cheese Skeeball game, videogame cheats, finding a coupon for free pizza that had no expiration date so they photocopied it and used it for months on end, etc.

Several of the loopholes would have been of interest to those in the points/miles/credit card/travel world. Again, the discussion is from 7 years ago and I’m sure most of them don’t work anymore (*cough* the “hidden city” one still works *cough*) – either offers have long expired or companies got wise to people using the system to their advantage. But it’s still fun to see what people were doing to beat the system, way back when…

  • I use to take Amtrak from Ohio to Minnesota. The costs was close to $100 but after you are on the train, they never double check your destination.
    I would buy the cheapest ticket in the direction I was going and then when the ticket checker came around to ask your destination- they only asked (not check)- I would say wherever i was going and they would give you a note card with the location. So for $7 I could go from Ohio to Minn. However it’s still an 18hr ride so your call on savings. —  DrNoThankYou
  • I used to travel for work. I lived in Greensboro, NC and worked in Boston. I’d book the same flights every week. Out early Monday morning and back on the 5:30PM flight on Friday night. But thing is, I knew ahead of time that my return flight would be overbooked. In fact, it was usually so overbooked that they needed as many as six or seven seats. And so they offered money/miles/flights as needed.
 Every Friday, I’d wait for them to make the first announcement. Usually a voucher. Pfft. Then the second announcement, probably a slightly larger voucher. Double Pffft. But the third announcement, that’s when they started offering the good stuff. I’d take that one, usually at least a round-trip anywhere in the continental US. Sometimes they offered a flight and a voucher, and once or twice they even offered a free trip anywhere in the world. Sweeeeet!
 And then they’d book me a guaranteed seat on the next flight, which was never overbooked anyway. The best part was that got on the same connecting flight as I would have if I had been on the 5:30PM flight out of Boston. I didn’t do it that way to scam them. It was the only connection available for either flight.
 I took that route 45-50 weeks a year for two whole years. I lost count of how many vouchers and free round trip tickets I accumulated. I even got calls from the frequent flier miles rep, telling me that I was “abusing the system” and that if I persisted I would have my miles taken away. I figured, what the heck? I earned maybe two free trips a year with miles. That was peanuts compared to what I got by simply taking advantage of their weekly kindness. They never did take away my miles. It all ended about a month before my Boston job was over. One Friday, the gate agent announced that anyone who wanted a free round trip ticket in return for them giving up their seat should see her at the podium.
 And then she followed it up with “but not you, Mr. Tillerman35.” — tillerman35
  • I live in the U.S. I got a British Airways credit card with 100k Avios (loyalty points). If you redeem the points on US Airways for domestic flights <600 miles the redemption rate is only 4500 points each way, so effectively you get 11 free round trip flights if you game it this way.
    On one occasion I flew my girlfriend to NYC just so she could see what it felt like taking a ballet lesson in Manhattan. Felt pretty boss.
    Edit/PSA: if you’re considering getting this card specifically for this purpose you’d need to live in a hub city to game it for meaningful value. Otherwise you’ll be the one that got gamed 😉 —  eath4bed
  • Dress well when flying and be extremely nice to all check-in staff. 15 free upgrades and counting. — T_hab
  • My buddy found an epic loophole. He flew back home to visit family for vacation for 2 weeks. He accidentally parks in the hourly parking at the airport instead of the long term parking (so he claims). He returns from vacation and attempts to pay for his parking and they tell him is will be something like 700 dollars for parking and won’t let him leave without paying it. So he calls his girlfriend and has her drive to the airport and park in the hourly parking lot. She gives him her ticket and then he gives her cash and tells her to tell the teller that she lost her ticket. Lost ticket rate was a flat rate which was expensive if you were only there for an hour or two….but it was incredibly cheaper than parking in the long term parking for 2 weeks. So his girlfriend pays something like 30 or 40 bucks for a lost ticket and he gets free parking since the ticket he got from his girlfriend said he was at the airport less than 30 minutes.
    TLDR Buddy goes parks in hourly parking lot at airport for 2 weeks. Has girlfriend drive to airport and park in hourly parking lot so she gets a timestamped ticket. He gets her ticket and parks for free, his girlfriend only has to pay the cost of a lost ticket. Buddy saves hundreds of dollars in parking fees. — the__brizzler
  • There was a promo at Wendy’s once where if you collected 128 coupons from the soda cups, you could get a free round trip airline ticket. So I just invested in a pair of rubber gloves and a flashlight, and found enough cups in the dumpster in one night to fly across the country for free. — elksm
  • TSA gonna love this one. If you scan your eticket at the boarding pass kiosk and don’t get a TSA Pre-Check pass to allow you to get in the short line, keep your shoes and belt on, leave your laptop in the case, etc., just scan your eticket again. Repeat until you get the boarding pass you want. — Gastonfires
    In response to this, someone asked: So, they just randomly give out pre-check passes?
    Gastonfires Reply: Yes. I was astonished to discover this when I last flew. I misplaced my non pre-check boarding pass among my work papers and could not find it. I scanned my eticket again on a whim. Voila, a pre-check pass came out. On my return trip I scanned my ticket three or four times in succession until I got a pre-check pass. No problem. You would think that when you scan your ticket four times in under two minutes they would quickly surround you and escort you to the little room. They didn’t, but I was nervous until the plane took off.
  • A few years back, Hyatt ran a promotion where if you stayed twice at a Hyatt property, you got a free night at any Hyatt hotel worldwide; no restrictions of blackouts. I turned 4 ~$45 low-end Hyatt stays into 2 nights at the Tokyo Park Hyatt (which was approx. $900/night, IIRC). — burgerthrow1
    In response to this, someone said: I was going to post this Hyatt thing also. This was the best hotel deal ever. In Lisle, IL the Hyatt was in a business area and empty on weekends. There was a $39 Costco rate that also gave you $25 in food/beverage per stay. And you could pay with $50 Hyatt gift certs bought at Costco for $40. My free nights were consumed at the Chicago Park Hyatt by my parents. Best hotel experience of their lives. And this was not a scam of any kind. Totally legitimate.
    Burgerthrow1 Reply: IIRC, the Wall Street Journal even ran an article about it and the Hyatt spokesman was like “Yep, do it!”
  • My utmost respect goes to the guy who used the US Mint’s free shipping on $1 coin purchases to repeatedly max out his Frequent Flyer Perks Credit Card.
    He would deposit the coins, pay off the CC bill, store up the perks, and is now a lifetime platinum member with unlimited free flights.
    Here’s the link: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/02/28/credit-card-reward-points-airline-miles-free/ — YourBrotherRonnie
    (Several people mentioned this loophole that’s since been closed by credit card companies. The following loophole is similar)
  • You used to be able to buy US Government savings bonds on a credit card with no markup. I would buy bonds with a 0% interest card that also gave me air miles. I racked up over 500,000 air miles over the years. As the bonds came in I would wait for my card balances to come due and turn them in, then buy new bonds. — TheBoldManLaughsOnce
  • Years ago, I worked in downtown Chicago. Parking wasn’t cheap even then. I think the least expensive lot was $5 and it went up from there. Chicago had residential parking passes. If you lived near downtown and had a guest, they could park on the street using a one-time pass where you mark down the date using an ink pen and affix it to your windshield. The thing was, these passes were a pain to get and a resident could only get so many at a time. I had a friend who live downtown and I asked him for one pass. Then I sprayed the pass with clear flat matte Rust-Oleum. I got a black dry erase pen and a plastic holder for the pass. Every day I would park on the street for free across from a $10 a day lot, write the date on the pass and put it in the window using my plastic holder and get free parking. At the end of the day, I would erase the date, rinse, lather, and repeat. I did this for years and saved thousands of dollars. — Mr. Thanatos
  • I used to buy money orders from Wal-Mart with a debit card that got me one airline mile per dollar spent. Helped me take a few vacations. I’d love to hear from the guy that bought a pallet of pudding for a ridiculous amount of frequent flyer miles. Here’s the link — halfasked
  • Best scam is using the hidden city airfare trick on the airlines. It feels so good to get them back for the poor customer service and wacky pricing. Flying from Virginia to anywhere direct is normally outrageously expensive, but using a site like skiplagged.com can help you find ways to get to that destination city in unconventional ways. For example if I want a direct flight to Atlanta, I don’t look for a direct flight to Atlanta, I look for a one way ticket where Atlanta is the connection city. I then get off and don’t bother flying to the “listed” end city. At the same time, I buy another one way back from ATL to Richmond. One note of caution, you can’t check luggage, that luggage would be sent to the final destination. Also, airlines claim this is improper activity, but they are the idiots that put together this ridiculous pricing scheme together not me and it can’t be proven that you intentionally missed the flight. Even better, during an oversold event for the second leg the airline emailed me an offer to give up my seat that I never intended to fill anways, brilliant! —  bonnetit
  • I used to travel alot for business and there are tons of Ioyalty programs for hotels. With the one I frequented the most all you have to do is swipe your card when you check in or out. When checking in I would say that I am leaving first thing in the morning ask for a receipt and swipe my card. When coming in later after dinner if there was a different person at the counter I would again ask for a receipt and swipe again in the morning. After 6 months I got upgraded to platinum membership which meant automatic upgrade to a suite. After 2 years my wife and I spent a week at a really nice resort hotel for free. — doingthehumptydance
  • The long term parking at my local airport will email you a 1-day parking for free coupon to sign up for their mailing list (worth about $15.00), but has an opt-out of their mailing list option on their confirmation page. Every time I go on a trip, I “sign up” – haven’t paid full fare in years. — WSHill
  • When Delta and Northwest were merging around 2008 I used to buy cheap K fares on NW, and call DL to upgrade them because with DL K was an expensive fare that was upgradeable. I used to fly first class for like $90.. —  nwanrey
  • Gogo in flight. American Airlines are scumbags and use this service. I’ve seen the cost of $25 to use the internet during the flight.
Or. You can simply bypass their web blocker for around 10 minutes at a time. Connect to the gogo wifi signal and scroll down past the area asking you to pay. You’ll see movie rentals. Do you not need to buy internet to rent a movie. But in order to rent a movie, you need to download their player from the app store. Which means you will enter a capitca code and it lets you use the internet to “download” the app. Internet should work for around 10 minutes. After it stops working, just repeat. The third time it will fail, so clear your browser cache(in settings) and it will work again. I only tested this on an iphone. It does not work with a laptop. — reason12323838
  • About 20 years a go I worked part time in the reception at an airport hotel usually evening/night shifts. The Hotel was set up with one of those back then standard pay per view tv systems (i.e. a few shitty tv channels for free and then 100’s of movie, cartoon channels etc that you had to pay ridiculous prices to use and many accidentally activated and got charged for).
    Since the evening/night shifts where understaffed we also had to deal with first line support issues like pay per view tv not functioning correctly etc and hence were given full access to the admin systems for these.
    After having worked there for a couple of weeks I discovered that the pay per view admin system was not connected in any way to the billing system, hence if I would activate a channel for a customer from the admin system it would not register in their bill as long as i didnt manually input it into billing.
    From then on I started activating pay per view channel for free for any customer that was friendly, seemed kind, had had a rough day (fex missed their flight), or came with their kids (activated all the cartoon channels) most were super happy for the small comp that I gave them and id like to believe I made their day and stay just a little bit better. — eiderhare
  • When I go on airplanes I get free food and alcoholic drinks by using my old canceled debit card. They swipe the card, don’t say a word about the fact that the transaction didn’t happen, and then I get my drinks and/or food. I’m not exactly sure why this works, maybe they just don’t care, maybe their devices don’t make the transaction until they land, who knows. The latter explanation seems weird to me since you can get wifi on airplanes. Who knows. — Lockwood
  • There was a taxi app in NYC that for a while allowed the user to enter the same coupon code infinite times. I added over $2000 to my account and took free cabs for a couple months, including one to the hamptons. They reset my balance to $0 on the new year. — Anonymous
  • Parking garage. Hit button for ticket. Immediately return ticket for a NO CHARGE receipt. Keep receipt and use to exit parking garage. Free parking every day for over a year. At $12/day I saved over $3000 that year. — Crap4Soul
  • I once stayed at the Arc de Triomphe Hilton, an extremely nice 5 star hotel, on points. Irritatingly, they wanted 30€/day for internet, which is absurd. The router prompted for a conference code and I remembered seeing a sign for an Abbott Labs corporate conference in the lobby. I called down to front desk and explained that I was there for the conference and told there would be free internet, and could I please have the code. Free internet for the next 3 days. Social engineering is a wonderful thing. — disillusioned
  • I found a few coupon codes for Orbitz that gave me like a 75% discount. They weren’t supposed to stack like they did, and actually they didn’t even apply to my hotel criteria. They worked though, and I paid about $20 a night for a 4 star hotel by the beach. Stayed there about 10 days, worth it. — Anonymous

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