Trailer Released For New Frequent Flyer Documentary

There have been lots of starts and stops at a frequent flyer hobby documentary film or reality show. They always seem to run into road blocks.

Gabriel Leigh created a short film Frequent Flyer a decade ago. He was going to turn it into a feature length documentary (I can recall sitting down for an interview) and eight years ago raised funds on kickstarter but it never came to fruition.

I worked on a project for The Travel Channel that got to the point of having a production team, and doing filming for a pilot. Ed Pizzarello had to run through an airport as though he was going to miss his flight. I remember working on location permissions for an Admirals Club and a National Car Rental lot. I really don’t recall where things went wrong. Maybe it was just the wrong team, if memory serves the folks behind Extreme Couponing were going to work on this.

There’s a great idea to dive into the frequent flyer hobby – from the craziest of schemes, to the oddball personalities, to the ethics – either as a movie or television short season. Many folks have tried it. I’ve sat down with several of them, given thoughts and interviews. It’s never quite come to fruition although in some sense Punch Drunk Love and Up In The Air were our documentaries.

One film project I sat down for an interview with a couple of years ago has made it to the stage of a trailer for their self-funded documentary project On Board. Lots of familiar faces here (mine doesn’t make the cut for this highlight real).

I’ll be really looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Well it’s not gonna be on the travel channel, they are all about ghost hunting nonsense with zero travel programs. I’m not sure why they haven’t changed the channel name.

  2. Please get past the inherent complaint and help me understand how this is a good thing.

    My sense is that the more of travel hacking that is publicly exposed, the harder it will be to travel hack.

    I get the blogging etc is already in that realm of opening up to the public, but a documentary seems like something that could significantly bloat this hobby with every cheapskate out there killing the niches we all enjoy. Am I wrong?

    I get everybody complains about deals being publicized, but I’m honestly just surprised to see excitement about something on this scale and would be interested in what drives the positivity.

  3. @WR2. LOL. Similarly: I am wondering about History Channel. Half of the programming is about aliens from space.

  4. I hope that travel becomes safe again, along with using miles and points. And I don’t have problems with FF-oriented videos or with folks retaining an interest in the game. But I can’t help but view this as irrelevant to our present day realities.

  5. “Through these experiences and really meeting and understanding people in different countries and cultures we can have better acceptance and understanding of them.”

    “It makes you a more empathetic person.”

    In today’s political climate I would argue that travel whether as a hobby or as a necessity is as relevant as ever. Personally I can’t wait til it’s safe to take to the skies again.

  6. Nice concept but screams white privilege….idk how the producers didnt see a need to touch on the subject of race & class. Sigh!

    Also, not an appropriate time for such a documentary tho. Travel is a major cause of covid19 and you want to make folks feel like they are missing out on possibly spreading/ contracting the virus. Sounds nice

  7. I’ve been telling my friends about travel hacking for years. I’m guessing that they won’t watch; and if they do, they’ll just smile and nod their heads while never doing a thing to take advantage of these ‘deals’ and ‘hacks’. Anyway, the short film above won’t get anybody to be onboard who isn’t already onboard.

    It was nice to see a couple of my friends, along with the blowhards. Where the heck was Randy??

    One last thing, Gabriel’s film from 10 years ago brought back plenty of memories.

  8. @Steve and @Kellypoly – what is your issue? Not sure why you would post that it isn’t “relevant” or “inappropriate”. TV is about entertainment and escapism. If you want to fixate on all the issues going on (that all the press, right and left, is playing up like a weather catastrophe) there are many news channels you can watch or websites you can read.

    However, NOTHING wrong with programming to keep people entertained and maybe look forward to a better time. I don’t know about you but I have looked at all my streaming services (in addition to the max cable package I have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Disney Plus) for travel and food shows that interest me. I welcome anything like this that may be entertaining, educational and a positive experience.

    If you guys want to hide under your beds, wear your masks/gloves when you dare go out and worry about the world ending PLEASE go ahead but there are many of us that prefer to move on with our lives.

  9. @Gary: So this is “Somm” without the wine, “The Paper Chase” without the fling with Houseman’s daughter. Who will watch it?

  10. I started to feel guilty for my past behavior as I watched the first video! And I have more lifetime miles than some of the people interviewed!

  11. Just glamorizing the most unsustainable of lifestyles. Huge egos and tiny levels of concern for others on display. And on top of it all, many of these people are acquiring these miles on Corporate-reimbursed travel, no doubt much more travel than many of these people actually need to undertake. I worked with fellow managers and execs who were clearly into excessive travel and international boondoggles driven in part by their thirst for miles and perks. Just another symptom of the concentration of wealth that is destroying the Earth and destabilizing society.

  12. What happened to “extreme couponing” in real life???? It died. It died because of that darn T.V. show. Grocery stores and manufacturers got wise. Pretty much over and done now.

    Why would “our hobby” ever want to do a t.v. show on the hobby? The banks and airlines are already doing all they can to make the hobby harder for everyone. When a loophole happens they close it fast or claw back now.

    This is an awful idea and I have been at the hobby over 25 years or more for sure.

  13. @Jeff-I wouldn’t normally agree with you, however I know better. An aquaintance of my mine told me about a relative who worked at a bank headquarters. They had a desk next to a two man dept that their sole duty was to make sure no one was gaming the banks signup bonus program. Part of their job? Reading blogs to find out how people were gaming the bonus program. True story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *