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How I Saved Nearly $10,000 On Flights – And How You Can Too

No joke.

This is something I’ve been doing for a long time. I’ve taken almost 20 flights to destinations like Australia, Germany, and Hong Kong, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars on my flights. In total, I’ve saved nearly $10,000.

Let me start by saying this isn’t a clickbait article. This is genuinely an easy way for you to save 50% off of flights in Canada, the United States, and all over the world. Plus, there is the option of saving the same amount on bus and train routes and luxury hotels all over North America.

So how did I do it? Well, saving all this money was actually REALLY easy. All I had to do was simply evaluate the flights, otherwise known as mystery shopping.




What is Mystery Shopping?

Many businesses want regular everyday people to evaluate their employees and services to make sure they are keeping a high standard. Airlines and transport companies are no different. They hire a third party to find mystery shoppers and put them in their planes, trains, buses, and hotels.

Some companies will actually pay you for your time to mystery shop but it is more common to receive a discount. The discounts are always at least 50%, meaning the discounts can sometimes be thousands of dollars on long-haul flights.


Why Mystery Shop?

The best reason to mystery shop is because it’s so simple. All the company wants from you is to keep an eye out for some simple details and then report on them when you are finished. The report usually only takes half an hour to an hour to fill out. For long-haul flights that can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, it’s a pretty fair trade.


What does it take?

It’s as easy as signing up with the company and asking to take a flight with any airline they provide evaluations for.  Signing up is FREE and once you register to become a mystery shopper you’ll immediately have access to the database of flights, trains, buses, hotels, and more.

The company I have worked with is a Canadian company based in Toronto called SQM (Sensors Quality Management). The travel branch of the company is called Evaluate It By SQM. Although their website looks budget and dated, it’s the real deal.


How Do You Start?

All you need to do is sign up and make an account with SQM. It’s straight forward and only takes a few minutes.

You can go directly to the sign up page here.

Once you have signed up, take a look at the flights they offer. Check to see which dates are available on SQM’s website. Next, go directly to the airline’s website and select dates and flight times. You’ll need to email your selection to the agent at SQM. The easiest way to do this is to screenshot your desired itinerary and forward it to the SQM agent.  They will get back to you quickly with confirmation that you can or can’t fly on that day. So far I have always been able to fly on the day and on the flight I wanted, but you must check with them first because they can’t have two people evaluating the same flight. 



Once your itinerary has been approved you will need to pay for your flights up front in full to SQM, not the airline. Upon your successful completion of the evaluation of each flight, SQM will reimburse you 50% of the cost directly to your credit card. It’s that simple.


The Deals

At the time of writing this, SQM has routes with several airlines that run flights throughout Canada and the USA and flights from the USA and Central America. I can’t post the names of the airlines for confidentiality reasons but once you sign up you’ll be able to see all the companies they work with.

You can get some unbelievable deals.  From time to time they even list first-class seats for the same price as economy fares. I’ve seen first-class tickets from Vancouver to Sydney or Toronto to Lima for the price of economy, plus the 50% discount. So, a $10,000+ flight would only cost about $600-$700 return. Unreal.

You can also fly with a friend, but only one of you will get the discount for the same flight. If you both want to save, you will just have to fly different times or different dates.

Booking these flights does take some coordination, but all in all, SQM makes it very simple and the savings are legit. Even if one of the airlines is having a sale on their own websites, you will still save the additional 50% with SQM.

Trains, buses, and hotels all work the same way. Booking first class train tickets or staying in a 5-star luxury hotel can also be massive savings.




The downside?

There really isn’t one. You may not be eligible to collect travel points when booking through SQM and you typically can only book flights that are direct, so no layovers. Sometimes they don’t offer one-way flights either, so you have to book a return flight.

Other than that nothing really. No minimum amount of flights to take and never a fee for being a member. Just use it when, and as you please.


Start Travelling and Saving

Whether you travel a lot or a little, it’s worth looking into SQM for your next trip. This program has really allowed me to stretch the length of my trips, travel a lot more frequently, and keep way more money to spend on the ground. I really hope it can do the same for you!





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