This 17-year-old Travel Blogger Flies First Class for Free (and You Can, Too)
This story originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.
Zac George first discovered travel points while he was in science class at school at the age of 14.
"I came across a video of Ben Schlappig (the air travel blogger) and I become obsessed with this currency that I hadn’t ever known about," the 17-year-old told Business Insider.
"From then on, I’d read Ben’s blog One Mile At a Time and just research about points every chance I had, often in class resulting in a few detentions."
At the time, George was working at McDonald's. Now he runs a blog and Instagram account of his own, Points from the Pacific, where he reviews first and business class flights and his experiences in luxury travel — all of which he gets for free.
So how did this youngster find his glamorous career path? Scroll down to see how a 17-year-old turned a job at McDonald's into the high-flying career of a luxury travel blogger.
This is Zac George, the 17-year-old travel blogger from Brisbane, Australia who has made a career out of flying first class for free.
He told Business Insider that he took his first international flight at the age of two. "I was lucky to start traveling young due to my parents owning their own medical company," he said. "I would be brought along to various destinations around the world while my parents would attend conferences."
At first, he said his travel was funded by "doing chores and various jobs around the house."
It was during science class when he was 14 that George discovered air points by reading the blog of Ben Schlappig. "I became obsessed with this currency that I hadn’t ever known about," he said.
Now, he says he says he has points to thank for "making my career." He has over 700,000 spread across "quite a few programs."
"Points have benefited me immensely and without them I wouldn’t have been able to travel as much as I have," he said.
He added: "There’s a few brilliant frequent flyer programs around but my absolute favourite is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Their program isn’t revenue based which means much better redemption rates and you can buy their miles in bulk at a discount, and there’s no limit to how many you can buy."
He earned his first "elite status" at the age of 14, which was like a "golden ticket," according to one of his blog posts.
"On my weekends I would fly around the country racking up status and frequent flyer miles and then use them to keep flying," he wrote last year, adding that at the age of 16 he was flying over 200,000 km’s per year almost all in first and business class.
The two best things he's "bought" using points? A trip in one of Etihad's A380 First Class apartments...
...and a trip in a Singapore Airlines A380 suite. "Both of them are amazing," he said.
His favorite airline is Etihad.
"They’re the first carrier I used points on to fly first class on a long-haul flight and I immediately fell in love with them," he said. "I have a lot of friends at the airline and each flight has been fantastic. The Residence flight is a massive highlight in my career."
His Emirates photos also look pretty swanky, from this bar...
...to this bathroom.
He also appears to dine like a king. Here, he eats in the Qantas first class lounge...
...and then on board in business class.
This is a 'refreshment' he enjoyed while flying with Virgin Australia.
When he isn't flying, George runs an "award booking service, mainly for business people" and writes blog posts teaching "like-minded points geeks to travel for less and posting travel news all around the world."
Travelling for less includes knowing how to find cheap first and business class flights. "You want to look at purchasing tickets out of low selling markets e.g. Cairo and Colombo," he said.
"The first and business class fares out of there are absolutely fantastic and it makes sense to start your journey there for the cost. It’s often half or even two thirds cheaper to fly Cairo to Abu Dhabi to Sydney, rather than Abu Dhabi to Sydney in first or business."
"Each day is quite different for me and it’s something I’ve had to adjust to," he said.
"I’ll usually schedule meetings for the morning until about lunch time. From then on it’s researching and posting some content on the blog. At night, I’ll usually be awake late as I’m seeing what’s happening in the US and if it’s quiet I’ll often go to sleep watching my favourite TV series 'Suits.'"
While he's based in Brisbane, he told Business Insider: "I'm currently looking at moving overseas eventually and my dream city would be New York."
"My absolute favourite place is New York and I love it every time I visit," he said.
The next destination on his bucket list? The Maldives, where he's headed for his 18th birthday in March next year.
And he won't stop there. He told Business Insider: "My ultimate goal was to fly the Etihad Residence and I achieved that this year. So far I’ve hit all of my goals, so I’m going to have to think of some more!"