Free Trip to Europe for Joining the Amazing Race for Regular Folks

My Award Booking Partner Steve

Many of you know that I offer an award booking service. It grew too big to handle on my own, and I was fortunate enough to be able to partner with one of the real veterans and gurus in the frequent flyer game, Steve Belkin (known in online forums as ‘beaubo’).

Steve is most famous for exploiting loopholes in frequent flyer programs like Aeroplan and United’s MileagePlus in a truly big way, scaling opportunities to earn millions instead of thousands of miles. And in that pursuit he has hired disable Thai rice farmers to fly in and out of the Golden Triangle area of Thailand, and New Zealand college students to fly to Europe for the summer.

His ‘Amazing Race for Regular People’

One of the really fun projects he’s had is called Competitours. Every summer, Steve disappears from work to run what the Chicago Tribune calls “The Amazing Race for Regular People.”

COMPETITOURS is a team travel competition, traversing a mystery itinerary of Western Europe and earning points by accomplishing a daily dose of surprise challenges in pursuit of a $7200 cash prize split between three teams.

Challenges are structured to test 7 – 10 pairs of teams’ creativity, resourcefulness and spontaneity (NOT speed or fitness – hah!). Here’s some of the challenges. Each day’s destination and challenges are revealed just a day or two before. Unlike the ‘Amazing Race’ TV show, Competitours steers clear of weird food, exhausting tasks and manufactured conflict and drama.

It’s a great project, reports are that the trips are great fun. I just lose Steve for those couple of weeks.

A Free Ticket for One Teammate If You Sign Up This Month!

My partner Steve is launching the 2016 version of Competitours, his European team travel competition featuring 11 days of mystery destinations, surprise hands on challenges and a grand prize pool of up to $6600. I sponsored a handful of teams last summer and the feedback that I received from those teams was astoundingly good.

Here was what one team blogged about Steve’s ‘Amazing Race for Regular People’. (Other past coverage here, here, here, and here.)

So, to kick off the holiday season, any team that registers and submits the deposit for the June 25 – July 5 trip between now and December 29 will get a complimentary economy airfare for one teammate.
Just put VFTW in the promo code section of registration page
and Steve will know that I’m covering one of the tickets. (Note: it will either be a paid or an award ticket, depending on price and availability, so I won’t promise the ticket will be mileage-earning.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Significant growth in Pinterest which is causing most of the lift (6,760 vs 5,851).  In addition, one of my posts on Iceland went somewhat viral on Facebook and so I ended up getting a bunch of referrals there.  I also got some traffic boost from a link in an article from Boarding Area on Competitours. […]


  1. You had me very intrigued until I read that even if you WIN, the first place prize money doesn’t even cover the entry fee for the winning team. As fun as it sounds, anyone who follows this blog ought to be able to plan a mind blowing vacation with the nearly eight grand this thing costs if you don’t finish in first place….and the nearly four grand you’re out for winning it. And that’s not including eleven days if lunches and nine or ten dinners and the daily transport costs – you’re probably in it for ten grand plus in the end and you may be lucky enough to get $3630 back if you finish first. Fun idea, the cost just seems unreasonably high for a miles and points junkie to be interested. Clearly, someone is willing to pay the price – I just can’t imagine it’s an audience that understands how to leverage miles and points into first class flights and five star hotels. Thanks for the offer, though. Interesting way to promote it.

  2. @nico – I agree with you, the price is steep for the travel-set…most of us can do pretty well and plan a great trip. I’m not sure the competition is worth the extra $$.

  3. As a 2015 participant, my teammate and I had a TERRIFIC time. Great group of people, wide variety of challenges and experiences, all wonderfully organized by always-upbeat, never-fazed Steve. I travel a lot (45 countries the last three years), but have never been on a trip like this. We–like many of the teams–went through withdrawal for a few weeks after, always the sign of a good experience. You definitely get your money’s worth.

  4. As a travel blogger and as a participant of the 2015 season of Competitours, as much as you can hack miles and stretch them to take you to a ton of different places, the point is that this is the kind of thing you really can’t replicate this on your own. Outside of what I laid out in my blog post, these are the big 4 things that stick out to me right now as I read some of these comments:

    1) I’m pretty well travelled and a lot of the things we did on the trip I had never ever heard about so good luck planning that on your own. Never in my life would I have thought about going to towns like Vaals and Andermatt.
    2) The element of competition is something you could never recreate on your own
    3) Prize money is honestly secondary to friendships that you end up making with all the other teams and experiences you have.
    4) Okay surprise might not be something that people are into encountering while travelling but honestly it was so much fun to not know where I was going for once. We were in Steve’s hands and finding out our secret destinations the day before was exhilarating. The itinerary that we ended up going through was way crazier than how I would ever plan my own trip. To me that was exciting.

  5. Agree with the 1st 2 comments; this is rather pricey proposition (especially in light a very strong USD) for the accommodations listed and lack of meals etc. 3-star accommodations in europe are more like 2-star accommodations in the US. For $4k pp not including airfare, where you’ll be staying in smaller, off-the-beaten-path cities, this seems like a poor deal.

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